Believe it or not, there really is a standard of park space that is recommended for a community. It is recommend that there be 5 to 10 acres of park space for every 1,000 residents. Combining the City and the Township, we come up with 9,247 residents – so according to that standard, with 111 acres of park space, we are doing quite well.
Quality vs. Quantity
Just like with any “national” standard, there are other things to consider. With 111 acres of parkland – that’s .01 acres or 435 square feet per person – we would never want or need for additional space. But there is a difference between quality (in terms of access, use and location) and quantity (sheer volume of acreage).
The chart pictured below details the well-known parks in Frankenmuth. It totals 81.2 of the total 111 acres of park land available. By no means are we saying that Frankenmuth is not fortunate to have this space. Candidly, we have heard folks say that with 111 acres of parks, kids can find a place to play. However, we’d argue that not all of these 111 acres are designed for “active” uses and not all are as accesible as we think our community requires.
We Need Specific Fields, Not just Open Space
Our local schools have fields such as the ones we’ve included in the Rec Center design. In terms of facilities, there is a full-size soccer facility, a practice soccer facility, varisty baseball, varsity softball, two diamonds at List, one diamond at Rittmueller and the Horseshoe diamond behind the football field.
Whew. That’s quite a few huh?
But consider this: They are almost all continually booked, and not just with school events. Scheduling little league, t-ball, softball, is hard. Throw in practices for those teams and you can pretty much forget about getting space to teach your child how to bat. If you do not have kids that are of that sports age, you may not have noticed that space to play informally with friends and family is hard to come by.
Neighborhood Parks Are Great, But We Need More Parks with Purpose
And so then, what about the other 29.8 acres of parkland in the City? Why don’t we use all that space? Why don’t we practice/play there? The City is blessed with a variety of small parks. But the parks aren’t necessarily the active sort of spaces that you may think of. We’ve included some maps and imagery below. These are not all the neighborhood parks, but we wanted to include a few. The locations and intensity of the parks are similar throughout the city.
So before you say that Frankenmuth has more than enough parks, drive by some of the other parks we have available. They are beautiful. They are well maintained. But they are open space. They are designed to serve those immediate neighborhoods as playfields and greenspace – not as a soccer field, not as a practice field.
There is a difference in quantity and quality. There is a difference between a want and a need. We have a wonderful park system. We also have an opportunity to make it better … make it even more usable.