Is Riverbend Park Rochester Hills Necessary? – Plans are underway to further develop Riverbend Park in Rochester Hills (Hamlin Rd between Crooks & Adams) but does Rochester Hills need another park to develop and maintain?
Is Riverbend Park Rochester Hills Necessary?
Before I launch into a “where should the money go?” speech, I’ll fully admit that I appreciate that the 70 acre parcel of land, generously donated, is not going to be used for another strip mall, residential development, or commercial development. Full disclosure, I have no idea if you could even build commercial or residential lots on the property because of the woodlands and wetlands factor but still, I fully appreciate that this land will be used as green space. Having “too many parks” is hardly a problem.
My “issue” with Riverbend Park Rochester Hills is that the Riverbend Park Master Plan (penned in 2013) contains a wide variety of possible uses for the park and the importance gathered through citizen surveys as to what citizens would be willing to “increase spending” on for the park to acquire options like sports fields, play grounds, a museum (???), etc. A meeting was held recently with residents so they could throw out ideas while the city continues the design phase. If I could have attended this meeting, my “idea” would be to leave Riverbend Park Rochester Hills alone and worry about the numerous other RH parks currently being paid for by taxpayers within the City of Rochester Hills.
I’m not going to rant against the current Rochester Hills parks, I enjoy them thoroughly. Still, there are a few issues…
Understaffed – Booth is rarely staffed leading to petty crimes, vandalism, and flagrant park rule violations (namely leash laws).
Aging – dilapidated tennis courts and street hockey rink. Parking lot in dire need of resurfacing.
Underpromoted – sparse attendance. The number of people completely unaware of Spencer Park far outnumber the people who use this park.
Trail renovation around the lake – needs improvement (broken concrete, no trail definition).
Rochester Hills already has Borden (the sports park), Spencer Park (swimming, pavilions, ice skating, sports field, trails, nature, picnic park), Bloomer Park (pavilions, nature trails, velodrome, playgrounds, sled hills), AND Van Hoosen Farms (the museum). Rochester Hills also has a number of smaller or undeveloped parks. For this column’s purpose, I’ve included the Big 3 plus museum. Do RH residents need another park to fund? If Rochester Hills had its own Police Department and a shining jewel of a Community Center (ala Troy, Warren, or Auburn Hills), perhaps I’d be more inclined to embrace the thought of another park with our tax dollars. But our current parks are already wonderful. Underpromoted, but wonderful. I’m fine driving slightly north to use Oakland Twp Parks if I want to visit a rustic, scenic nature park ala Bear Creek Park, Lost Lake, or Draper Lake parks. If Riverbend Park land has been donated for park purposes, spend as little as possible on it while improving and maintaining the other three RH parks that need (at least some) attention. Rochester Hills has no shortages of beautiful places to picnic or hike. If Riverbend Park is developed, I hope it is one project the City of Rochester Hills develops on the cheap (for once).
Does Rochester Hills need Riverbend Park Rochester Hills? Maybe a more appropriate questions is – Do Rochester Hills residents really want to increase spending for yet another park? My choice would be to fix, improve upon, and PROMOTE the parks the citizens of Rochester Hills already pay for – but it doesn’t look like I have one.
For more info on Riverbend Park Rochester Hills, visit http://rochesterhills.org/index.aspx?nid=713