Birmingham to Offer Parks and Recreation Bond Opportunity
BIRMINGHAM, MI, August 19, 2020 – Birmingham voters will consider a Parks and Recreation Bond on the November ballot, which will provide funding to continue the City’s investment in Birmingham parks and recreation facilities. If approved, the City Commission will have permission to move forward with improvements at numerous City parks, playgrounds, the Rouge River trail system, and additional amenities including potentially a pickleball court and splash pad. Projects identified evolved from the Parks & Recreation Master Plan and from community-wide input. The bond will allow for funding to advance these and other projects.
In January 2020, as part of the City’s Long-Range Planning meeting, City Commissioners reviewed a parks and recreation improvement funding update, which included proposed projects, estimated costs and potential funding sources. Last month, the Commission approved placing the parks bond proposal before Birmingham voters. The Commission approved a total bond amount of $11,250,000 which, if passed, would be issued in two series; the first in the amount of $4,750,000 in 2021 and the second in the amount of $6,500,000 in 2024 as existing bond debt will be retired in those respective years.
Voters last approved a parks improvement bond almost 20 years ago. Existing bonds funding sewer and parks projects will be fully retired in 2024, providing an opportunity to continue parks improvements, while minimizing the impact on taxpayers. Bonding allows the City to spread costs over 21 years, limiting the annual cost to taxpayers to $51.60 for every $250,000 of assessed value.
Bonds will be issued in two phases to allow ample time to finalize planning and complete the work. Birmingham residents will be engaged throughout the process, with some improvements slated to begin in 2021 pending approval of the bond. Proposed early projects include Adams Park improvements and a corner feature at Booth Park, plus improvements to playground equipment and the River Rouge Trail Corridor.
Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan ensures the city’s 26 parks, recreational facilities, playgrounds and two miles of Rouge River trails are well maintained and appropriately upgraded, enhancing residents’ quality of life, contributing to overall property values and enhancing business attraction and retention. Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan is typically updated every five years, with the current version spanning 2018-2022. The plan is updated using a comprehensive process that includes extensive public engagement, leading to a list of potential projects and estimated costs. In addition to community input, other criteria for project selection included: project readiness, facility conditions and staff recommendations. If the bond is approved, Birmingham will again review the parks plan to align projects with available funding and ensure a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to parks and recreation planning.
For more information and frequently asked questions about the Parks and Recreation Bond opportunity, visit www.bhamgov.org/parksbond. Residents may also sign up to receive information via the Parks & Recreation Bond Opportunity Constant Contact group at bit.ly/bhamnews.
City of Birmingham – A Walkable Community. Visit the city’s web site at www.bhamgov.org.
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