It can start with a bench



LANSING TOWNSHIP–A lot has changed over the years – baseball diamonds removed, new play structures built and school houses changed to duplexes. But to Pete Holoway, it is still very much the same Slater Park that he grew up with.

The park was a special place for Holoway, and he has made it his goal to improve the park so it can continue to be a special place for the people who use it today. He started by donating a park bench in early November.

Lansing Township and Slater

Holoway is not the only one trying to improve Slater. Senior Planner for Lansing Township Matt Brinkley said that the park is going to be a focus for the township going forward.

“The Township is in the process of updating its master plan, including parks and recreation facilities, and Slater Park will feature prominently in those plans,” Brinkley said.  “We think that it can become something really unique and provide the neighborhood with even more amenities than it does now.”

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Lansing and beyond

However, with the trying times in the current economy, people like Holoway are very important to preserving and improving local parks.

According to the Lansing township budget plan, the money set aside for recreation and culture is less than 1 percent of the total budget, and that amount fell by 8 percent from 2012 to 2013.

For Christine Vogt, a Michigan State University professor in the Department of Community and Sustainability, while parks may be on hard times, they are very important to our society.

“They are important for (people) being outside, meeting with friends and play a pretty significant role for people who are athletes,” Vogt said.

Vogt, who’s done more work with parks in Genesee County, said she is concerned for those parks economically and hopes that those in Lansing are doing better.

“The Flint Park system is really stressed right now,” she said. “They are great parks, but there is just not the public funding to keep them going. Lansing isn’t there but I’m sure they have to examine the budget hard to not just keep parks open but to keep them programmed.”

This may not be the easiest thing to do, as there are more than 100 parks to maintain in the Lansing area, according to Brett Kaschinske of the Parks and Recreation Department of Lansing.

Kaschinske said Slater isn’t one of the parks his department oversees, but he understands why that park and parks in general have to change.

[audio] – Why are parks important?

“It used to be you had a baseball diamond in every park, and all the neighborhood kids came to the baseball diamond in the park and played there, but that’s not the trend anymore,” he said.

No matter whom you ask they probably have a memory of a park. Said Vogt, “People have special memories and place special values to parks a lot more than shopping malls.”

For Holoway, Vogt, Kaschinske and many others, the pursuit to maintain parks for the future is very important so that everyone can enjoy them for years to come.


About homtvdan

I am a recent Michigan State University graduate and aspiring journalist. Sports are my true passion and I hope to one day achieve a career in sports journalism or entertainment. Before that though, I have to perfect my skills which I work at each and every day.


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