CHAPTER IX - PARKS AND RECREATION
C. INVENTORY OF RECREATION FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS
An inventory of existing local and regional recreation facilities was conducted during the Fall of 1996 (Table IX-10) (Appendix A contains the detailed inventory). Data from the 1992-1996 Parks and Recreation Plan was used as base information for the inventory and then was checked by one of the following methods: field inspections, phone interviews, personal interviews, or review of existing capital facility reports. City departments and each of the school districts were contacted to verify information. The regional inventory consisted of review and compilation of regional park facilities, brochures, and telephone interviews. An inventory of playground equipment and park facilities was recorded and reviewed with regard to location, acreage, quantity, quality, accessibility, and general conditions.
a. Public Parks and Open Spaces
There are currently nine (9) municipal playlots, fourteen (14) municipal neighborhood parks, three (3) major community parks and sixteen (16) open greenspaces in the City (Figure IX-3 and Table IX-10). Kleinstuck Marsh and Blanche Hull Preserve are examples of conservancy parks located within the City. There are also indoor and outdoor recreation facilities located at
Figure IX-3 Existing Park and Recreation Facilities
the fourteen (14) district elementary schools, three (3) middle schools and at the two (2) public high schools. In addition, nearby regional recreational facilities include Maple Glen County Park, Fort Custer Recreation Area, Yankee Spring Recreation Area, Fairground and Recreation County Park, Kal-Haven Trail in Sesquicenterian State Park, and River Oaks County Park. Several public golf courses and a number of lakes are within proximity to the community. Private and commercial recreation facilities within the area include a country club, batting cages, swimming clubs, bowling alleys, and the Edward J. Annen, Jr. Sports Complex, home of the following professional sports teams: Kalamazoo Kodiaks (baseball), Kalamazoo Tornados (football), and Kalamazoo Kingdom (soccer).
b. School Facilities
Municipal and public school recreation sites within the City are described in Table IX-10 and are located on Figure IX-3. In terms of total acreage, community facilities (excluding open green space) account for 51% of all public recreation facilities while school district facilities comprise 49% of public recreation opportunities. Park facilities in the City range in size from 0.23 acres to over 185 acres. In addition, the City leases facilities at two church sites (Bethany and Allen Chapel A.M.E.). Three of the sites qualify as community parks; whereas, the others are classified as neighborhood parks and playlots. The three community parks are located in the northeast, central and southern portions of the City. Community parks are designed to serve a variety of outdoor recreation needs for the residents of Kalamazoo.
The twenty developed public school facilities range in size from 2.3 acres to almost 62 acres. These properties account for 49% of the total public acreage of recreation facilities within the community. The elementary schools mainly serve the residents of the neighborhoods in which they are located; whereas, the middle schools and the high schools tend to serve a broader population base. All school facilities are intended to serve the recreation needs of all residents of the Kalamazoo Public School District. In addition to the public schools, there are several private and parochial elementary schools (Table IX-10).
c. Private Recreation Facilities
Several privately-owned recreation facilities are also located in or near the City. Although use of these facilities is limited to those who can afford the fees, they do address certain recreation needs. Private recreation facilities include the Kalamazoo Country Club, Kalamazoo Health Center, Boys and Girls Club and the YWCA. Private recreation facilities are also located within local apartment complexes, condominium developments and subdivisions (Parkview Hills PUD) in the City. A few waterfront developments (Wood Lake) have lake access for use by residents of the development.
d. Regional Recreation Resources
Regional recreation areas are large facilities serving people within a broad geographic area. Regional recreation facilities are typically within one-half (½) hour to one (1) hour driving radius of the City of Kalamazoo. Table IX-11 summarizes and Figure IX-4 locates these regional facilities. The size and type of facilities vary, but in general these facilities are 200 acres or more in size.
3. Recreation Programs
The City of Kalamazoo Recreation, Leisure, & Cultural services is a Division of the Development Services Department, providing a comprehensive recreation program for all age groups. The Division is funded through the general fund, with the Adults Sports Program generating adequate revenue to cover expenses, other services are subsidized or funded through grants. Programs include after school programs (K-6 and teen), summer playground program, Chautauqua (summer camp) , T-ball, fine arts skill enhancement, KMGA Golf, introduction to fishing, LaCrone Park basketball, art clubs, the Eastside Youth Center, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, soccer, bowling, floor hockey and volleyball leagues, organized activities for children including a youth summer day camp, sports camps and science camp, gymnastics, ceramics, drama, dance classes, swimming lessons, roller skating, special day trips and various adult and senior citizens programs. Services are provided on a twelve-month basis for residents of the City of Kalamazoo with additional fees charged to non-residents. The focus of programming includes the following: youth activities, adult sports, family activities, inclusion activities for persons with disabilities, and senior citizens. The program calendar appears in Table IX-12.
TABLE IX-11 Existing Regional Parks and Recreation Facilities City of Kalamazoo
The school district maintains recreation facilities and conducts various school related programs at the high school, middle schools and elementary schools within the district. The school facilities contain a variety of indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, all of which are available to school district residents either at no charge or for a nominal fee. Use of these facilities are first available to school athletic teams and scheduled programs; then open to the general public on a request basis.
b. Aquatics Programs
Kik Pool. Nicholas Kik Pool, located in UpJohn Park, is the only public swimming pool in the City. The pool is open seven days a week from mid June through the end of August each year, attendance for 1995 was 6,526. Aquatics programs are provided, admission fee required.
Woods Lake Beach. Woods Lake Beach is open free of charge from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The beach is supervised by lifeguards and attracted approximately 5,000 swimmers and sunbathers in 1995.
c. City Recreation Programs
The following program narrative is taken from the 1995 Annual Report of the City of Kalamazoo Development Services Department, Recreation, Leisure & Cultural Services:
Youth Programs. The City has a large variety of youth programs that are aimed at teaching life long skills to the community's youth (Table IX-13). There are three main categories of youth programs: After School (running January - May and September - December); Summer (running June - August); and Teen (year round). Over 3,073 youth were provided with various recreational and leisure programs.
After School Programs. After school programs offer youth the opportunity to learn new skills outside of school in a more relaxed atmosphere (Table IX-13). These programs incorporate a variety of activities including sports, arts and crafts, and fine arts skills. In 1995, programs were held at twelve sites around the City and over 1,200 youth participated. Program fees were between $7 - $18, but no child was turned away if the fee could not be paid. Financial assistance is available to City residents who demonstrate the need. Several special events were held to help generate extra revenue.
Summer Programs. These programs offer area youth a variety of inexpensive recreation activities for the summer, over 1,700 children participated in summer activities (Table IX-14). Camp Chautauqua is a summer day camp that meets four days a week for six weeks. Participants have the opportunity to participate in sports, arts and crafts, performing arts, field trips, special events and also specialty areas including dance, gymnastics, and model building. The Playground Program serves many more youth with activities such as sports, games, arts and crafts, storytelling, treasure hunts and field trips. Ten of the fourteen playground sites participate in the Kalamazoo Public Schools/USDA Free Summer Feeding Program. When the Playgrounds close, the Summer Fun In August program provides youth with a variety of supervised activities and field trips, including swimming at Kik Pool. The eight week T-ball Program teaches youth the basics of baseball. In Summer Art Fun, youth will participate in jewelry making, clothing decoration, painting, drawing, and also work with clay curing the six week program. Gymnastics is an eight-week program that teaches the basics of tumbling and lower level equipment experience. Tennis lessons are also available for youth through the Timothy Zeigler Community Tennis Program.
Teen Programs. Through a variety of programs, the Eastside Youth Center (ESYC) has been able to teach teens job skills, life long fitness habits, fine arts skills and more (Table IX-15). These workshops are provided free to the Center's members. The Youth Center has over 80 active members. The Youth Leadership Conference was designed to bring middle and high school students together for educational, personal development, and enrichment opportunities through presentations and interactions with community resources. It was held in February at the YWCA. The Fine Arts Skill Enhancement (FASE) program takes at risk youth ages 12 to 14 and teaches them fine arts skills to help them improve their self images and knowledge. The program had a nine week session in the spring at South Middle School, but the fall program at Milwood Middle School was canceled due to lack of participation. No grant funds were available for the 1995 FASE program.
Leisure and Cultural Programs. Recreation, Leisure and Cultural Services offers a wide variety of programs to increase the community's access to free or inexpensive experiences in leisure and cultural programs. These programs include the Concert in the Park Series, Teen Fest, Super Friday Trips, Walk Michigan, and the Focus on Michigan Photography Contest. (See Appendix B for details.)
Senior Programs & Programs for Persons With Disabilities. Many senior citizens and people with disabilities took advantage of the various programs held for them at locations throughout the city. These programs fall under three subcategories: swimming programs, senior programs, and programs for persons with disabilities.
Swimming Programs. Year round programs sponsored by the City are available to senior citizens and people with disabilities at the YMCA. Senior exercise is offered in the Warm Water Pool on Monday through Friday from 3-4 p.m. People with disabilities can participate in either of these programs or participate in a swim time on Tuesday in the Warm Water Pool from 3-4 p.m. They may either swim on their own or receive instruction in an informal setting. Swim pass fees are $7 for City Residents (22 swims) or $14 for Non-city residents (22 swims).
Senior Programs. Recreation, Leisure and Cultural Services has partnerships with several community agencies to provide services for senior citizens. These agencies include the YMCA, Kalamazoo Public Schools Community Education Center, and senior services.
Art classes for senior citizens are held at Kalamazoo Institute of Art (KIA) and there is a tuition waiver available to City residents. Senior ceramics classes are held at the Community Education Center, Allen Chapel, and St. Monica's. These classes are ongoing and participants attend at their own convenience. There is a $1 fee per class. A seniors' stretching/exercise class was offered twice a week to residents at New Horizons Village from January to April. The class was led by an intern with the Recreation Division and was free of charge to participants.
The annual trip to Mackinac Island for senior citizens is arranged every October. 40 seniors took advantage of the four day, three night trip in 1995. Four day trips were planned for seniors in 1995 but were canceled due to lack of participation.
Programs for Persons With Disabilities. In 1995, there was a continued emphasis on inclusive recreation programs designed for people with and without disabilities together (Table IX-16). Many organizations in the community were involved, including the Kiwanis, WMU Best Buddies, Kalamazoo Downstreamers, Sleeman's Square Dancers, and the WMU Alumni Association. There were three ongoing inclusive programs in 1995. The Division co-sponsored a Unified Sports bowling league with Michigan Special Olympics. The six-week league concluded with an awards banquet and included students from WMU, Kalamazoo Central, Loy Norrix, Kennedy, and Mattawan High School. In the fall, the Women of Today worked with the Division to offer an Etiquette Class for people with developmental disabilities. The five-week program included greetings, phone skills, table manners, common courtesies, and a dinner a Rykse's. Also in the fall, students at Woodward Elementary participated in the City-sponsored inclusive horseback riding program at Bresa Del Rio in Otsego. Students learned the anatomy of the horse, grooming skills and riding skills during the six-week program.
Dances at the Coover Center are held twice a month on Fridays from 7-9 p.m. Admission is $1 and participants can enjoy music, prizes and refreshments. There are also winter and spring formal dances held at the Radisson twice a year.
The Division sponsors ongoing art classes at KIA for people with disabilities. These classes are paid for with City funds and a tuition waiver is available to City residents who wish to participate.
The senior handicapped decentralized program costs were as follows:
Senior Services, Inc. $18,468
KIA $ 1,851
KPS Community Ed. $ 7,000
YMCA $ 5,113
Program Integration $ 2,760
Total Expenses $35,192
Adult Sports. The Adult Sports Program is designed to be self-supporting with expense and revenue matching, without general fund subsidy. With great pride, this program continued to provide opportunities in softball were available on occasion, as well as a yearly tennis tournament. Softball, being the largest component of the Sports Program, consisted of both a Spring/Summer and a Fall league. The Recreation Division has a close working relationship with the Kalamazoo Amateur Athletic Federation (KAAF), a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to improving the VerSluis/Dickinson Softball Park and promoting softball in the City of Kalamazoo. Without the support of KAAF, many major capital improvements would not take place. The sports leagues consist of the following:
Spring/Summer Softball. This is a 14 week slow-pitch program that includes men, women and co-ed teams. Also included in the spring/summer program are the morning men's league and the double-header league, both of which last 14 weeks. All league games are played at VerSluis/Dickinson Park.
Fall Softball. This is a seven-week slow-pitch program for men, women and co-ed teams. All games are held at VerSluis/Dickinson Park.
A total of 453 teams participated in the 1995 softball program. Here is a breakdown of the teams involved:
Spring/Summer (entry fee includes $20 USSSA fee)
Slow-pitch/twilight $390 14 games
Slow-pitch/twilight $710 28 games
Non-City residence fee $10 per player
USSSA paid - Summer $190
Volleyball 1995-96 Season. This is a 14-week program for men, women, and co-ed teams. 51 teams participated. The following is a breakdown of the teams involved:
Men 6 teams
Women 7 teams
Co-ed 38 teams
Non-residence Fee $10 per player
Basketball 1995-96 Season. This is a 10-week program for mens and womens teams. 26 teams participated in the program.
Non-residence Fee $10 per player
Ballpark Tournaments. Tournaments were held at VerSluis/Dickinson Park and were sponsored by the Kalamazoo Amateur Athletic Federation.
Maintenance (actual cost)
1 diamond for the day $22
Tennis. One tennis tournament was scheduled for July 15-16 and was held at K-College's Stowe Stadium. The tournament was co-sponsored by West Hills Athletic Club and there were 60 participants.
Beach Volleyball. 1995 was the first summer for this six week coed league. Games were held at Upjohn Park in sand courts.
Non-Residence fees $10 per player