2021 Parks Improvement Millage

2021 Parks Improvement Millage

As approved by its commission, the City is placing a millage request on the November 2021 ballot that, if approved by EGR voters, would provide funding for several improvements throughout the City's parks. Projects would be drawn from the City's Master Plan and the Community Parks and Recreation Master Plan, adopted in 2018 and 2020 respectively, that incorporated many hours of input and ideas from residents. 

Specifically, the millage would allow for extensive renovations and additions at Manhattan Park, trails through several undeveloped properties, shade shelters and sports courts. The millage request would also include removing and replacing five playgrounds in the City. Four of these playgrounds are on property owned by EGR Public Schools and the other playground is on City-owned property.
  

FEEDBACK OPPORTUNITIES & EDUCATION MEETINGS

Special thanks to all those who joined us on June 10, 23 and 30 for community discussions about this proposed millage. Your feedback was taken into great consideration by our City Commission, who voted to include this millage proposal on the November 2021 at its Tuesday, July 6 meeting

Please stay tuned for educational meeting opportunities that will occur in September and October to learn more about this millage prior to voting on Nov. 2. 


TIMELINE & UPDATES

May 17: Millage proposed to the City Commission for initial discussion; Commissioners noted municipal bond rates are at historically low rates and appear to be stable going forward, making the cost of borrowing attractive. 

June 7: City Commission continues millage discussion

June 10: First public engagement session open to all residents and community members — in person and via Zoom

June 21: City Commission continues discussing the millage at its meeting, decides to wait until July 6 meeting to vote 

June 23: Second public engagement session open to all residents and community members — in person and via Zoom

June 30: Third public engagement session open to all residents and community members — via Zoom only

July 6: City Commission meeting (rescheduled from July 5 due to holiday closure); Commission voted in favor of including millage on November 2021 ballot

July 27: Ballot language due to Kent County

September + October TBD: Educational meetings open to all residents — stay tuned for dates


BACKGROUND

City of EGR Parks Improvement Millage 

If this millage is passed by EGR voters, the City would use the funding to cover all costs for the design, purchase and installation of new playground facilities at Breton Downs, Lakeside and Wealthy elementary schools, the EGR Public Schools Woodcliff Administration Building and Manhattan Recreation Area.  

The parks improvement millage also would potentially fund the following projects outlined in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan:  

Location
Project
Cost*
EGRPS Playgrounds
Breton Downs, Lakeside, Wealthy, WECC
$1,705,959
Remington/Hodenpyl
Upgrade trails to provide barrier-free access with wetland and lakefront overlooks and a connection to Waterfront Park
$300,000
Hodenpyl South
Provide a barrier-free trail south of Reeds Lake Boulevard with lake overlook decks
$150,000
Waterfront Park Phase 2
Woodland and wetland restoration, trail and boardwalk development, additional parking and environmental education opportunities 
$350,000
Steketee Woods
Provide accessible trail linking to Reeds Lake Trail, including hilltop terrace, lake viewing area and boardwalk ramp/stairs
$560,000
Shroeder Property
Provide a trail through park to lakefront with viewing docks
$300,000
City
Dog park — Develop a dog park on an existing property or acquire new property 
$500,000
City
New sports courts — provide new futsal and pickleball courts
$140,000
City
Resurface sports courts — restripe existing tennis courts to provide futsal and pickleball courts at existing park facilities or school properties (4 courts)
$25,000
San Lu Rae
Shade shelter with picnic tables
$62,000
Manhattan
Playground
$574,450
Manhattan
Site preparation
$51,000
Manhattan
Bathroom facilities
$150,000
Manhattan
Shade structures
$130,313
Manhattan
Park amenities (concrete surfaces, benches, bike racks, sewer connection, electrical services, landscaping, picnic tables, lighting, etc) 
$442,828
Manhattan
Softball and soccer field renovations 
$400,000
Manhattan
Splash pad — poured in place surfacing with colored concrete surfacing
$532,001

Total:
$6,373,850 

*Costs were recently updated by city staff.   

It’s important to note that if the millage is passed by voters in November, individual projects will still need to be presented and approved by the City Commission. This process may include separate public feedback opportunities.   

The total cost of the improvements is estimated at nearly $6.4 million. To cover possible contingencies, the millage would allow the City to borrow up to $7 million by approving a new millage levy of 0.53 mills. Because the Wealthy Pool millage, currently 0.1955 mills, will expire after the 2021 summer levy, the new parks improvement millage would mean an increase of just over 0.3 mills for property owners.  

A debt millage is levied for the purpose of paying the principal and interest on a bond for the construction and renovation of infrastructure and other capital assets. The City would borrow only what is needed to cover the actual project costs, which means the final amount could be less than $7 million. 

Based on the estimated project costs and the City’s current taxable value, it would equal a levy of 0.53 mills for a 20-year term. In future years, as the City’s tax base grew, the millage rate would be 0.5 mills or lower. For a home with a $200,000 taxable value, it would be an additional $106 a year. Here’s what 0.5 mills would mean for other homeowners: 

Home Value
Taxable ValueAnnual Cost
$200,000
$100,000$50
$300,000
$150,000$75
$400,000
$200,000$100
$500,000
$250,000$125
$600,000
$300,000$150


If passed, the Parks Improvement Millage would go into effect July 1, 2022 at the earliest and last 20 years

RESOURCES


FAQs

Will the City Commission make the final decision on passing this millage?  
No. The City Commission decided to include this millage on the November ballot based on feedback from residents and the research provided by City staff. This millage proposal will ultimately be voted on by residents on Nov. 2.  

If residents vote in favor of the Parks improvement Millage on Nov. 2, will all projects on Parks & Recreation Master Plan list move forward?  
Many of the projects will move forward, but not all at once. Based on resident prioritization, projects will be completed within three to four years during which individual plans may be altered based on resident feedback and consultant recommendations. 

After much discussion with residents and community members, the City and its partners ranked residents’ top priorities as listed above. However, specific plans for each individual project will be presented to the Parks & Recreation and City commissions before moving forward. Large projects will include further community engagement sessions. For example, a dog park was listed among the most popular desired amenities. While much research has gone into the costs of the creation of a dog park, specific logistics for building a one in EGR will be needed before moving forward.  

Are pickleball courts included in this plan?  
By popular demand, pickleball court renovations and additions were included in the Parks & Recreation Master Plan. As listed above, the 2021 Parks Improvement millage plan has similarly take pickleball courts into account. You can view details by viewing section 8 of the Parks and Recreation master plan linked above under resources.  

What if upon further planning, a project does not cost the full amount listed above? 
The City will only borrow the money it needs to complete projects. 


What did we miss? We're continuing to craft FAQs to help all community members understand this millage proposal. Fill out our form so we can add your questions to the list.