The city of Dexter wants the area known as First Street Park to be rezoned as public park land and is waiting for the Planning Commission to rezone it.
The council is eager to get the land rezone so work can commence on a pavilion ands storage shed. The commission has been working to learn what all the fuss is about and whether rezoning is the proper course.
The Planning Commission discussed the matter Dec. 7 and will have a public hearing on the matter Jan. 4. The commission learned it has been a longtime objective to make First Street Park a public park.
The park is at the end of Edison Street along the railroad tracks. The park has horseshoe pits, picnic tables and a port-a-potty during the summer months. The park sits on a triangle-shaped parcel of about an acre.
The city acquired the land and designated it as a park in 1988. A special land use permit for a park in the R-3 Residential district was granted in 2006.
In 2013, $5,000 was earmarked by the Village Council for a shelter at the park.
Since then, the city has been looking at ways to build a shelter/shed within the setback requirements and determined it would not be possible without vacating the First Street right of way by the park.
The City Council approved the vacation earlier this, but needed to make sure it only went to the halfway point the city owned. DTE owns the other half and while it has no problem with people using the right of way to access the park, reserved the right to develop it in the future.
The Planning Commission had been asked to approve the rezoning of the land to public park (PP), but some members didn’t believe the city should make such a move for ostensibly one group, The Dexter Ringers.
The Ringers have been using the park for nine years for their competitions, club member and former Councilman Paul Cousins said. The club first clean up the land that had been used as a dump by the village and then built the pits and asked for a place to store the horseshoes and equipment,”
“We’ve been pitching there since 2006,” Cousins said. And it’s not just the Ringers who have been using the park, people have picnics there and employees at nearby factories take their lunches there, he said.