WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Park District No Longer Part of Community First

Sep 4, 2016

The collaboration created to determine the feasibility of building a new middle school and community center in Macomb has lost one of its partners. Park Board President John Hemingway said the park district will no longer be involved in the project.

"I want to stress it's not a matter of rejecting or withdrawing. It's more a matter of whether the limited (financial) resources that are available to the park district could be better used on other projects than as a partner in Community First," said Hemingway.

He said the building would be wonderful for the community, but added the park board has a list other projects it would like to complete in the next decade:

  • Phases 2 and 3 at Veterans Park, which will add more ball diamonds
  • Re-purpose Downing and Patton Parks, which currently have some ball diamonds
  • Install all-season restrooms in Everly Park
  • Take care of general maintenance concerns

"We just felt that (the aforementioned projects) was the role of the park district in the community," Hemingway said.

He said the park district might still use the Community First facilities if the building is constructed.  For example, if the building has a pool and there is no longer an outdoor public pool in Macomb, the park district could pay the cost of swimming lessons for those who otherwise could not afford them. The park district also could rent space for some its programs.

The remaining partners in Community First are the school district, the city, the YMCA, and McDonough District Hospital.