Friday, December 17, 1999

Pittsfield Parks struggle to keep up with growth

Pittsfield Parks struggle to keep up with growth
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

Pittsfield Township, Michigan—Whether you’re 2 or 102, plentiful parks, exercise classes and strong family-based programs are important to any community, says Dan Cooperrider.

The director of the township’s Parks and Recreation Department says the township is no exception.

With plans to expand and improve several parks and park buildings in the township, Coopperrider said he and others have seen Pittsfield Township transformed to a bustling growing community from the semi-rural area Coopperrider saw when he came on board as director in 1985.

The biggest challenge as director, Coopperrider said, is keeping up with the growth and development of the community.

“It’s an exciting time to be able to … purchase land and provide recreational facilities on that land that the community will enjoy for a long, long time,” he said.

Coopperrider said one of the Parks and Recreation departments’ priorities is to expand and improve parklands in the area.

A millage, passed in 1996, will spread taxpayer’ dollars for park projects over a 10-year period. Coopperrider said estimated revenue from the millage will be close to $5 million.

“At this time, we do have sufficient funds for the parks department to make land acquisitions and parks development,” said Pittsfield Township Douglas Woolley.

The upcoming year, said Woolley, will show a lot of movement in the parks area.

“The residents of Pittsfield Township have—by the fact that they approved a parks and recreation millage for Pittsfield Township—shown how much the community wants to have parks and open space and recreational facilities they can have as their own,” Coopperrider said.

These are some of the ongoing projects of the Pittsfield Township Parks and Recreation Department:

Ø The expansion of Lillie Park on the southeast corner of Platt and Ellsworth roads. Now a 102-acre park with a 30-space parking lot, the park boasts two miles of nature trails, an observation point, a fishing deck and a pavilion. Benches and bird feeders houses were recently added.

Ø Pittsfield Township Park, 701 W. Ellsworth Road at State Street, has a new pavilion and bathroom facility. In cooperation with the Ann Arbor/Briarwood Rotary Club, the park’s pavilion is known as the Rotary Pavillion.

Ø A new playground center is being built at Montibeller Park, 4305 E. Ellsworth Road east of Carpenter Road. Bathroom facilities at the park were also recently renovated.

Ø 39 acres of land was donated last year to Pittsfield Township’s Parks and Recreation Department for a few park. The planned park will be located on Thomas Road.

Future plans may include a new community center that could be located on one of the future parkland sites.

Other smaller improvements in the planning stages include a recreation/day/camp/ski building in Montibeller Park, Coopperrider said.

He also said the department may upgrade the maintenance facility there.

The department also has three pending grant applications to the Department of Natural Resources, two for parklands property acquisition and one for the continued development of Lillie Park, Coopperrider said.

“We owe it to the residents to find these pieces of property to establish parks in areas and improve township parks,” Coopperrider said.

Photo Caption: Dan Coopperrider, director of Pittsfield Township’s Parks and Recreation Department looks over a new playground structure just installed at Montibeller Park.

Photo Credit: Alan Warren

Originally published Friday, December 17, 1999