Planning to have fun, Chapter One: Pickleball and goose poop

Posted on August 22, 2009


It was a drizzly day at the Day Park, and everywhere else in the County as far as I can tell, but the intrepid Torch Lake Township Recreation Plan Committee was undeterred. We would go ahead with the Public Input Session (which we had cleverly named Lemonade in the Park to entice people to come—sort of like calling it Cheesy Casserole to get your kids to eat broccoli).  People would show up.  Sure they would.

Dennis Schneider and Deb Comber were at the park when I got there, fluffing things up.  I don’t know if they’d planned to stay for the Lemonade, but I pulled the bags of treats out of the car and Dennis was hooked.  Then Dick Saul arrived to help set up.  He made the lemonade.  We started a pool on how many people would show up besides us.  We were extremely happily surprised.  Looky here:

We ended up with fifteen people, ranging from Owen Perez, a toddler with very clear views on the recreational value of fresh mud puddles, to the rest of us who are what we are.  We had a fine conversation, enjoyed excellent treats supplied by Donna and Russ Abbott over at the Eastport Market, and wandered off on a few side trails.   You can read my notes below if you want to.  But here’s the most important thing. 

Our very small Township managed to get 15 people out on a drizzly morning to help make a recreation plan for our community.  They were full of good ideas, but it wasn’t one of those gatherings where everyone comes up with brilliant plans for what Someone Else should do.  All these people offered to help do things, like make swim buoys or track down resources for accessible playground designs or trim overgrown bushes or paint fresh trail blazes at the Nature Preserve.  How great is that?  (It is very great.)  So Dick and I both lost our bets and we are happy.  I think I got everybody in the pictures but the Stasevichs, who were there but managed to escape the blogger with the camera stuck to her face, and Ed Knoechel, who popped in to contribute the amazing suggestion of a Pickleball Court.  There is a USA Pickleball Association.  There is even—how did I manage to miss this?—a story in the Record-Eagle about new Pickleball courts in East Bay Township.  Learn something every day.

Notes from the Public Input Session, a/k/a Lemonade in the Park:

  • Day Park matters
    • Protect the swimming beach from boat traffic: make swim buoys and apply Swimming Beach lettering
    • Make room for boats to pull up
    • Solve the goose poop problem: outside showers, more sand and less grass at shore, regular dog patrols
    • Repair the swing set
    • Remove the border boards at the volleyball courts
    • Trim overgrown bushes around the periphery of the park
    • Build Pickle Ball Courts
    • Build tennis courts
    • Build a new ADA-accessible playscape
    • Move the Day Park sign out on US-31 so that people stop getting lost on 4th Street
  • Nature Preserve matters
    • Make sure there are enough resources (financial and volunteer) for upkeep
    • Renew trail blazes
    • Regrade rustic boat launch
    • Say thank you to the volunteers who have been clearing deadfall from the trails
  • Other access spots
    • Evaluate condition of concrete boat launches on NW Torch Lake Drive and end of Creswell Road
    • Put up signs at the NE Torch Lake access and build stairs down to the lake
    • Maintain the 3rd Street access so that people can swim there
  • The Wish List
    • A full-fledged Recreation Center with indoor recreational facilities
    • Acquisition of additional property if an opportunity presents itself
    • Develop the gravel pits behind the old Township Hall
  • Resources
    • Complete a good inventory of what we have, and what the boundaries are (existing road end inventory done by Susan Roggenbeck?)
    • Get back to asking people to volunteer for projects—it’s fun and it builds community
    • Ask for free or deeply discounted professional advice on ADA-compliant accessible construction and landscape planning 
    • Identify grant resources: Rotary Charities, Rotary Good Works, Tribal 2% distributions, Great Lakes Energy People Fund, Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, Upper Torch Lake Association

August 22, 2009
Attendance: 15 (Carrie and Owen Perez, George Parker, Dennis Schneider, Deb Comber, Sharon and Don Philion, Char Lundy, Connie and Dick Claar, Jeff Stasevich and his son Dillon, Dick Saul, Ed Knoechel, and Gerry Sell)