A recent Detroit News article regarding Oakland County and its park system should not go unnoticed. The article discusses the Urban Recreation Initiative now being pursued by Oakland County Parks, an entity of Oakland county government but one with its own budget and staff.
Dan Stencil, the parks executive officer noted that they've historically focused on preserving ruual land as a refuge from development, thereby creating a parks system that is dominant in the north end of the county. Admitting that since 66 percent of the county is urban based, Stencil said that "it becomes apparent we need an urban strategy for the entire county".
So here comes Oakland County, once the definitive marker of sprawl in the metro Detroit area, understanding where people are concentrating, and what they'll need to do retain and attract residents to communities in the 21st century. The League's "Center for 21st Century Communities" has identified geen initiatives as one of the eight assets of vibrant 21st century communities.
Arnold Weinfeld is director of strategic initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.