JACKSON TWP. The clubhouse at the now closed Tam O’Shanter Golf Course was standing room only on March 19 as residents came out to hear a presentation from Stark Parks on the development of the new Tam O’Shanter Park.
In addition to the live presentation, Stark Parks had several display boards on tables around the room representing areas of development. Those attending were asked to put a green dot in the boxes of importance to them to have included in the park.
The boards included the following:
- Restoration and Adventure with boxes for dots for: Woodland, Prairie/meadow, Wetland restoration, sensory, pollination and stormwater gardens, maintain one putting green, climbing wall, zipline, ropes course, ice skating, toboggan run and tow rope.
- Play Areas and Clubhouse had areas for: more than one play area, available shade, proximity to parking and restrooms, high adventure level, meeting room and special event rental, community education classes, interpretive exhibits, concessions, play area inside building.
- Hiking and Picnicking had items listed for most important for hiking and items most important for picnicking.
Activities and Gathering had boxes for dots for the activities and gathering area items that are most important to incorporate.
There were also tablets with comment sheets that people could fill out and leave. Project Manager for Stark Parks Sarah Buell said Stark Parks officials will use the information gathered at the meeting as part of the final master plan for the park.
“We will have a second meeting here on May 23 and will bring back the data we collected and will try to clarify the feedback,” Buell said. “After that second meeting, we’ll develop a draft of the master plan which will be put on our website. People can still give final comments on the website regarding the draft. We believe the final plan will be done by the first week of July after the board has a chance to vote on it.”
Buell also said that the park does have some trails open for people to come in and walk.
“For this park, we decided to open it up while the restoration process happens so that people can see how that all happens. There are three trails open and two entrances,” she said.
One of the area residents who attended the public meeting, Priya Ramaiah, said she and her family are excited to have the park in the area.
“It’s exciting to have the park here and it’s exciting that Stark Parks asked for community input,” Ramaiah said. “My family and I will be using the park for biking and hiking the trails. The gathering places that will be open in the park will be great to have too.”
The room was packed and people were engaged with writing comments on the comment sheets and putting the green dots on the areas they thought were important to be a part of the park. Buell said the Tam O’Shanter park is approximately 199 acres. She said Stark Parks manages 8,000 acres in total in the county with 120 miles of trails.
“We expected a large turnout this evening and the residents did come out. The area is a central hub and there is lots of interest in this project. I also wanted to say that Stark Parks appreciates the work that has been done with Jackson Township. We’ve worked really well together to make this park happen,” Buell said.