Volunteer Planning Team Focuses on Revitalizing Wickes Park and Community Health

CHICAGO — An American Planning Association (APA) Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) is coming to the city of Saginaw, Michigan, to assist in developing a plan to revitalize Wickes Park, March 1–5.

The volunteer planning team includes six award-winning planners, landscape architects, and public health experts from around the U.S. While in Saginaw, the team will hold community meetings for community input on the draft plan recommendations for Wickes Park. A final presentation will be made to the city council on March 5.

Share your ideas for Wickes Park with the team during an open house:

  • Planning Workshop: March 1, 6–8 p.m. at Andersen Enrichment Center
  • Park Opportunities Workshop: March 2, 5–7:30 p.m. at Montague Inn
  • Park Options Workshop: March 3, 3–5 p.m. at Montague Inn
  • Plan Recommendations: March 4, 4–6 p.m. at the First Congregational Church

Additional details are available at www.facebook.com/Wickes-Park-located-in-City-of-Saginaw-MI-184265762346739/

The revitalization plan will focus on opportunities to enhance Wickes Park to improve overall community health and reconnect the community to the riverfront. Studies show that parks within walking distance of neighborhoods increase physical activity and contribute to a reduction in obesity-related chronic diseases. Revitalization of the park is important to start creating a healthier Saginaw.

  • Saginaw had the highest death rates in the county due to chronic obesity-related diseases according to the 2017–2020 Community Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan completed by the Great Lakes Bay Health Centers.
  • The city was also ranked as one of the 10 worst of the 83 Michigan counties for overall health outcomes, including length of life, quality of life, overall health behaviors, physical environment, and socioeconomic factors, according to a 2017 analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Wickes Park, in southeast Saginaw, is one of the city’s river parks. Due to a decline in population and city revenues over the past few decades, park maintenance and development has declined. With the ongoing expansion of the Iron Belle Trail, there are numerous opportunities to highlight the beauty and value of Wickes Park for residents as well as visitors.

APA’s Community Planning Assistance Teams (CPAT) are composed of nationally recognized experts who volunteer their time to work with residents, government officials, and other key stakeholders to offer planning assistance to communities to develop plans and policies that support good planning. The CPAT program was established in 1995. Teams have recently worked in Pine Hills, Orlando, Florida; North Beach, Maryland; Hartsville, South Carolina; and Franklin, Tennessee; among other locations.

The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating communities of lasting value. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The 38,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, APA’s Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to good planning. APA has offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at www.planning.org.

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Roberta Rewers, APA, 312-786-6395; rrewers@planning.org