Michigan Park Directors Attend mParks Conference, Work to Improve Local Parks

Local parks are the heart of many communities, and park directors strive to keep them growing.

This week hundreds of park directors from across the state are in Traverse City, working together to improve Michigan’s parks.

“Our mission is to educate, advocate and inspire and we do all three of those with this conference.”

Park directors from across the state are putting their heads together while they discuss the most important parts of every community.

“It’s where people want to live. People want to live where there’s parks and trails,” says mParks CEO, Ann Conklin. “They also have so many benefits for the individuals and the communities as far as their physical, mental and economic health.”

At the conference local groups come up with new ways to improve our parks, by getting inside from park directors from all over.

“We continue to learn how important our parks are, for the entire community and that is huge. It just reaffirms what we are doing for our communities,” says Kris Erickson, Grand Traverse County Parks and Rec director.

Right now ideas are flowing about a new playground at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, and directors want to make sure everyone is included.

“All playgrounds need to be ADA, but we’d like it to be more universally accessible,” Erickson says.

And companies are on the same page.

“Parks really have to incorporate the whole age range of the human race because you have all kinds of accessibility issues,” says Penchura owner, Eric Sheffer “With more and more children being diagnosed on the autism spectrum there’s a lot more going into parks and recreation and planning for those children with those specific disabilities.”