By Robin Oda

On Nov. 5, Troy residents will have an opportunity to vote on whether or not the city will expand its offerings at Duke Park. The current Duke Park was a gift from the Robinson family, and has been developed almost to its fullest extent.

The northern, undeveloped portion of the park was purchased several years ago with the intent of moving the Troy Junior Baseball out of the flood zone where it currently resides.

The Eldean location/property was given by the Knoop family some 30 years ago so that kids in Troy would have a place to play baseball. Their generosity has been so very appreciated, and over the years, Troy Junior Baseball has grown into a solid program.

However, it IS a flood zone, and as such, it floods. Yearly. It has become very costly to repair, clean the fields, and to replace stationary equipment and fencing at the fields. The cost of maintaining the fields severely impacts the finances of TJB.

A plan to expand Duke Park a couple of years ago failed. Maybe it was too big a plan? And then there was that decimal point issue.

Last year, the Park Board undertook a survey of Troy residents to ascertain things that were most important. Three of the top “wishes” were a baseball location for Troy Junior Baseball, a miniature golf course and a splash pad, along with the need for more soccer fields. These are things I’ve heard for years from many of you.

Last fall and this past spring, visits were being made to putt-putt and splash pad sites for ideas.

Discussions were taking place about how/when/where to implement these, and of course, the location would be Duke Park.

And then the flooding this past spring/summer 2019 was pretty dominant, and the discussion gained some urgency. What are we waiting on? We really need to do something. … The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets, etc.

And so the expansion of Duke Park plan developed in early-mid summer as a viable plan. Troy Junior Baseball and the Troy Soccer Club were consulted and included in discussions. They are both onboard with the plans that have been presented and will continue to be involved in the process.

The city will be funding two-thirds of the plan ($8 million), with the levy expected to cover the other third ($4 million). If you live in a $100,000 home, you will pay 11¢/day, or $3.30/month, or $39.60/year for 10 years. A 10 year total of $400 per home. Adjust these numbers up or down depending on the value of your house. We are looking at a $12 million project that will cover:

New baseball fields, two T-ball fields, new lighting, safety nets, new bathrooms and concessions areas, park entrances, putt-putt course, splash pad, 491 new parking spaces, extension of the rec trail around the new extension, soccer fields, and new storage and maintenance areas for our Parks Department.

We are planning a park expansion that will be available to generations of all ages, for generations to come. This city was built by people with an eye to the future, and we enjoy the fruits of their vision and work every day, whether we think about it or not. We will never meet them or be able to thank them.

We now have the opportunity to do the same for current and future generations.

Every project the city undertakes is an investment in, a plan for, the future of Troy. It is another amenity that makes Troy desirable to current residents, businesses looking to locate here, to families looking to move here, to visitors who visit for a variety of reasons.

I wasn’t here when Troy began, when Troy grew into what it is now. I didn’t get to participate in building the things my family and I have enjoyed for the past 23 years. But now I do.

I hope you will join me in voting yes for Duke Park, to be enjoyed now and in the future, an investment in our community.

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— Robin Oda is a member of Troy City Council and 2020 mayor-elect for the city of Troy.

— Robin Oda is a member of Troy City Council and 2020 mayor-elect for the city of Troy.