Meridian Parks Department seeks Higher Taxes to Fund Improvements

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"We're right at a break even point that makes it hard for us to even maintain what we've got," said Todd Wilson, Park Commission chair for Meridian Township.

Parks across Meridian Township are struggling to survive. Many of them, like Towner Road Park, which right now is just a field.

The township has received the same amount of money from tax payers every year for the past thirty years, even though the amount of parks and land it maintains has nearly tripled.

"We've of course wanted to maintain a quality parks system," said Teri Banas, also on the Meridian Parks Commission. "But we haven't been able to make any significant improvements in a long time."

That's where Wilson and his commission come in. They're putting it to a vote.

The parks department added a park millage proposal to the ballot on August 5. Voting "yes" will increase taxes by about $66 a year for the average home owner, raising more than a million dollars for the parks department in the first year.

And Wilson says this has been driven by the people of Meridian who've been helping take care of the parks themselves in the mean time.

"The dollar amount that we get in volunteer time is almost equivalent to what we take in in tax, and it's really helped," Wilson said. "But I think that indicates the level of commitment that the residents have and to the system we have."

For now, Wilson hopes the people of Meridian continue to be supportive.