To the Journal editor:
The opportunity for local residents to provide comment on planned projects in Marquette needs to be improved for those unable to attend meetings.
I was out of town during the meetings held about the proposed playground at Presque Isle Park and the plans were not on the city's website until Jan. 18.
One important aspect about the proposed Presque Isle Park playground that many local residents may not be aware of is that if it is approved for the planned location, the current access road on the east side of the Island Store that connects to the parking lot at Moosewood Nature Center will be eliminated.
This route is presently used on a daily basis by visitors to view birds and deer attracted to the bird feeders next to the nature center, but this route is especially valuable during busy summer months when traffic is congested in front of the Island Store due to special events.
The road planned for closure provides motorists an opportunity to bypass the congested area and improves the flow of traffic.
A number of trees that are at least 20- to 30-years old would also be removed to accommodate the playground at that site. And any type of fencing that is supposed to surround the playground, which will be visible from the main road accessing the park, is far from "natural" regardless of color.
Any fencing will negatively impact movement of wildlife through the area and deer spooked by joggers or passing vehicles could jump the fence and land on a child.
The road would not have to be closed or trees removed if the playground were located inside the fence already around the old Shiras Pool on the opposite side of Moosewood Nature Center, which is a site that has not been considered for the playground.
The public will get opportunities to comment to the city commission ... (when) they vote on it at their Feb. 25 meeting.
Richard P. Smith