Analysis of Existing Facilities

Type of Facility

Recreation Standards1

Kalamazoo Community Facilities

PlaylotsPlaylots (Mini-Parks) are small, specialized parks, usually less than an acre in size, that serve the needs of residents in the surrounding neighborhood. A playlot may serve a limited population or specific group such as tots or senior citizens. Axtell Creek, Henderson tot lot, and Princeton are examples of play lots. The City also leases space for playground use at Allen Chapel A.M.E. and Bethany Churches. The NRPA recommends 0.25 to 0.50 playlot per 1,000 residents. A tot-lot or small playground could be added to Fairmont Park to serve the adjacent neighborhood. Old playground equipment in all parks should be replaced with play structures that meet current safety and accessibility standards. Resilient surfacing must be installed or replaced as needed at all playgrounds.
Neighborhood Parks and PlaygroundsNeighborhood parks and playgrounds are typically multi-purpose facilities that provide areas for intensive recreation activities, such as field games, court games, crafts, playgrounds, skating, picnicking, etc. Neighborhood parks are generally 15 acres or more in size and serve a population up to 5,000 residents located within ¼ to ½ mile radius from the neighborhood they serve. Frays Park, LaCrone Park and Hays Park are good examples of neighborhood parks. Emerald Drive Park and Woods Lake Beach Park are also classified as neighborhood parks. In addition, 18 public elementary schools and 8 parochial schools provide many recreation opportunities normally found in neighborhood parks.

The City currently leases former retail space at 1616 East Main Street for programming use (the Eastside Youth Center).

One to two acres of neighborhood parks are

recommended per 1,000 residents. LaCrone Park, Verburg Park, Woods Lake Beach and Frays Park provide the community with wonderful assets for both passive and active recreational opportunities. Use of these facilities could be enhanced through special activities and annual events sponsored by the City. Protection of the natural environment, especially preservation of the aquatic and wildlife habitats, is important.

Community ParksCommunity Parks typically contain a

wide variety of recreation facilities to

meet the diverse needs of residents from several neighborhoods. Community parks may include areas for intense recreation facilities, such as athletic complexes and swimming pools. These parks usually contain other facilities not commonly found in neighborhood parks such as nature areas, picnic pavilions, lighted ball fields, and concession facilities.

Milham Park, Spring Valley Park and Upjohn Park are examples of Community Parks.

In addition, the middle schools and high schools serve and function as community parks to some degree.

The NRPA's standard requirement for community

parks is 5 to 8 acres per 1,000 residents. Active recreation facilities typically found in a community park are lacking in the community. Indoor and outdoor swimming pools with wheel chair access, tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts and indoor community facilities have been identified as needs within the community. If areas cannot be identified within the City where these facilities can be developed, then partnerships with neighboring communities and school districts to share facilities should be considered.


Metropolitan Parks

Regional parks are typically located on

sites with unique natural features that

are particularly suited for outdoor

recreation, such as viewing and studying nature, wildlife habitats, conservation, swimming, picnicking, hiking, fishing, boating, camping and trail use. Many also include active play areas.

The City is served by over 10,000 acres of regional parks, including many State, County and regional parks (see Table 11, Existing Regional Parks and Recreation Facilities). Regional parks typically serve several communities

within a one half (1/2) to one hour drive. The City is surrounded by an abundance of regional facilities, including parks in Portage, Parchment and Oshtemo Township, within a short driving distance. Pedestrian pathways and linear parks are needed to link City residents to these regional recreation facilities.

Special Use/



Special use recreation facilities are

typically single-purpose recreation

facilities, such as golf courses, nature centers, outdoor theaters, interpretative centers, or facilities for the preservation or maintenance of the natural or cultural environment. Protection and management of the natural/cultural environment may be the primary focus with recreation use as a secondary objective.

The City contains 537 acres of special use parks including the Kalamazoo Mall, Martin Luther King Park, Crane Floral gardens and the VerSluis softball complex. Blanche Hull Preserve, Kleinstuck Marsh and Asylum Lake (both owned by WMU) are excellent examples of conservancy parks. Preservation of open space was voiced strongly by residents of Kalamazoo at public meetings held in the Fall of 1996. Special measures will need to be taken by the City to protect and preserve these open spaces, while allowing for orderly residential growth and development on the westside of the City.
Passive ParksThe primary purpose of passive areas is to provide relief from highly developed residential and commercial neighborhoods. Facilities may include sitting areas and other pedestrian amenities, landscaping, monuments and fountains, and historical features. The City provides approximately 69 acres of passive parks throughout Kalamazoo. Additional passive parks could be developed in connection with some of the historic sites and buildings located in the City.
Linear ParksA linear park is any area developed

for one or more modes of recreation

travel, such as hiking, bicycling, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing,

canoeing, horseback riding, and pleasure driving.

Built along natural corridors, such as utility rights-of-way, abandoned railroad easements, bluff lines, vegetation patterns, and roads that link other components of the recreation system or community facilities, such as schools, libraries, commercial areas, and other park areas and desirable site characteristics may be developed into linear parks. The City recently completed two riverfront linear parks located downtown (Arcadia Creek) and Riverside Park. The River Partners Trails Group in cooperation with the City has recently received $100,000 ISTEA grant to undertake a community-wide trailway enhancement study. The River Partner Trails Group has plans to develop trailways linking the City to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, Maple Glen County Park, the KalHavens Trail, Battle Creek Linear Trail and Portage Creek.