On a vote of 4 to 2, the Committee of the Whole recommended the Barry County Board of Commissioners approve a resolution to establish the Barry County Parks and Recreation Commission. The new commission structure would combine and replace the existing Charlton Park Board and the Parks and Recreation Board.
The biggest benefit of unifying the two boards into one is the added ability to leverage more state and federal grant money for the county parks system. Dan Patton, Charlton Park Director, said the current structure often presents challenges when dealing with the state and that most counties in Michigan have a single Parks and Recreation Commission, so "we wouldn't be re-inventing the wheel".
However, questions about structure of the new commission, Charlton Park millage funding and future millage renewals, use of maintenance equipment, and why Barry County switched many years ago from a single Parks and Rec board to the current two separate boards were brought up during discussion and during limited public comment.
The matter will come before the November 26, 2019 Board of Commissioners meeting. If approved, the change will become effective January 1, 2020.