Runestad votes to bring all-inclusive playground to Commerce Township

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad voted on Wednesday in support of a plan that would supply part of the funding necessary to build a 16,000-square-foot, all-inclusive playground at Commerce Township’s Dodge Park.

House Bill 4244, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday, includes funding for the Dodge Park playground dubbed “Scarlet’s Playground” in honor of a local girl with spinal muscular atrophy.

Builders broke ground on the project last April after $400,000 of the $1 million goal was raised to build the park. The funding included in today’s plan would provide another $195,000.

“Scarlet’s Playground is a wonderful project that will allow children from all parts of the community to come together to play,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “This all-inclusive playground will help ensure no kid is left out.”

The full plan includes $26 million for 34 recreational development projects and 30 land acquisition projects statewide, including the Scarlet’s Playground project and $1.3 million for the Brendel Lake Campground Acquisition in White Lake Township. The project investments outlined in the proposal were recommended by the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board in December.

Recommendations are subject to approval by the Michigan Legislature, a process started in February within the House Appropriations Committee.

Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land. The funds are constitutionally restricted to be spent on an annual basis on local and state outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

HB 4244 now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.