TEMPERANCE -- Improvements at Lewis Ansted Community Park are to continue under the Bedford Township Park Commission's latest five-year plan.
A sledding hill and fishing pond are planned for the park, according to John Mohr, chairman of the park commission, "but no ball diamonds or tennis courts. We have enough of these in the township. This will be a natural park."
The plan calls for these amenities to be added this year at a cost estimate of $300,000. For 2013, the plan envisions a disc golf course, rest rooms, picnic areas, and an outdoor ice rink for about $150,000. The park is on the east side of Lewis Avenue north of Erie Road.
The township board approved the plan at its regular meeting last week. Rob Peven, director of the Monroe County Planning Department, told the board that when the plan received the final OK from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the township would be eligible to apply for park improvement grants.
The township owns and operates six major parks: Carr's Grove, Parmelee, Samaria, White, Indian Creek, and Ansted. The park budget of $154,000 comes mostly from the township's general fund; a 0.3-mill request for park improvements failed twice with the voters in 2006. The parks have some income from rentals and make $1,400 a month from a cell-phone tower in Carr's Grove, Mr. Mohr said.
New to Ansted are a sign, parking lot for 20 vehicles, and half-mile walking trail. The plan calls for more paved parking and trail work for 2014 at Ansted, a splash-and-spray facility at White in 2015, and cross-country ski trails and an archery range at Indian Creek in 2016. The projects are contingent on grant awards, Mr. Mohr said.
Preparation of the five-year plan included citizen input, which involved a survey distributed in the fall edition of the township newsletter mailed to all addresses in September.
Three hundred sixty-three forms were completed and returned. The survey asked residents what they wanted in their parks, such as playgrounds, hiking paths, or soccer fields, and if they preferred to visit a sports park or nature preserve.
About 63 percent of respondents said they wanted hiking paths and bicycle trails. Thirty-eight wanted a sledding hill, and 26 percent wanted outdoor skating rinks.