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Improvement projects highlight recreation department's year
Upgrades and renovations highlighted the Frankenmuth Parks and Recreation Department’s past year.
The 2017 annual report was given to Frankenmuth City Council Tuesday evening for their review. The department’s motto is “to provide safe, fun and affordable recreation opportunities, enhancing the quality of life and promoting healthy lifestyle,” Parks and Recreation Director Daren Kaschinske said.
The year began with the Heritage Park electrical upgrade. Nearly $300,000 was spent to revamp the entire electrical system on the west side of Heritage Park, where Leslie, Kern and Schmitzer ball fields are located. New light poles, wiring and lights were installed.
Work began over the winter and was finished in time for the 2017 softball and baseball seasons.
“This is a much safer and dependable system that gives us better options to operate and meet future needs. The parks and recreation commission sincerely appreciate the city council’s cooperation in funding this necessary project,” Kaschinske said.
The Memorial Park Boat Launch renovation began in the spring and it was officially reopened this fall.
After more than four years of planning, a complete reconstruction of the boat launch was completed. The $285,000 came in under budget and funded by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN), Frankenmuth Community Foundation, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland and McNally Family Foundation.
“The new launch has been a great improvement for boaters and is sure to increase access to the river in the future, while reducing our maintenance costs,” Kaschinske pointed out.
A new foot bridge, fishing area, parking lot and a porta-john were also added to the two-slip launch.
The parks and rec also took the lead in the new 𠇋ike to School Day back in May. It is much like the Walk to School Day in the fall. They also support the Frankenmuth American Legion Post #150’s annual Easter Egg Hunt in Heritage Park.
“These events continue to grow in popularity and are a very successful service to the community,” Kaschinske added.
The department also offers adult and youth sports and special events. For youth, 312 kids participated in baseball and softball while 415 persons were part of the annual Daddy Daughter Dance and 126 took in the Mother Son Outing. Other offerings were boys’ basketball (77), Turkey Challenge (36), Start Smart Basketball (17), Walk Michigan (8), Splash Village (120), and Pitch, Hit and Run (5).
For adults, the co-ed slowpitch softball was the big draw with 149 participants. Men’s slowpitch drew 84, followed by spring indoor volleyball (64), sand volleyball (60), winter indoor volleyball (55), co-ed kick ball (53) and fall indoor volleyball (37).
Facility rentals are a big part of the parks and recreation and there were 22 major events covering the months of April through October, such as Bringin’ Back the 80s Fest, Family Fun Day, Auto Fest and Harvest Days. There were 40 festivals, concerts, tournaments and large events and 131 private events that used the pavilions, Scout Building, Rose Garden and other park sites.
During the off-season, the Harvey Kern Community Pavilion was used 31 times for sporting activities involving nets, 41 days for community walking and 43 days for Pickleball action. This year for the first time, the Kern Pavilion was used by the Frankenmuth varsity football team for November practice.
The City of Frankenmuth has 19 parks, 120 acres of land, nine playgrounds and 80 acres of grass.
The Frankenmuth Parks and Recreation Commission includes Chair Anne Webb, Vice-Chair Joe Chowaniec, City Council Representative Joe Cramer, Township Board Representative Tom Bierlein, School Board Representative Dave Harris, and members Jim Bickel, Travis Dafoe, Dean Elbers, Ed Foltz and Trisha Way-Uphold.