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Recreation Planning

Community Park, Recreation, Open Space, and Greenway Plans

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Berrien County

Cass County

Van Buren County


Presentations from a Workshop on Applying to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.


A community parks, recreation, open space, and greenway plan provides a five-year framework for decisions regarding the establishment, development, and maintenance of recreational programs and facilities.  A well-designed comprehensive recreation plan will also include plans to preserve and protect natural resources (land, water, animal, and vegetation) as well as cultural, historic, and artistic resources.  Factors to be considered include population growth, population demographics, planned transportation systems, and land uses (regional and local).


Comprehensive planning for the social and physical needs of a community, coordinated with other community and regional planning, provides great benefits by:


  • Improving the quality of life for residents
  • Improving the economic value of businesses
  • Providing economic development opportunities (especially tourism related)
  • Attracting future residents and businesses
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Providing opportunities for social connections
  • Protecting natural features and the environment
  • Providing dual benefits such as flood mitigation in areas not suitable for intense development
  • Providing opportunities to network and create links between recreation nodes, which increases the value of existing recreational opportunities
  • Improving property values


In addition to being an important guide for the community's use, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources requires a current, approved plan on file prior to applying for grant assistance.


Recreation plans will include a study and assessment of current facilities, input from the public through visioning sessions and survey participation, and an action plan with measurable goals and objectives including time frames and cost estimates for prioritized projects.


If you would like assistance writing or updating your community's recreation plan, please contact Marcy Hamilton at hamiltonm@swmpc.org or by phone at (269) 925-1137 x1525.


This page last updated on 12/6/2022.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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