Jon continued: "I asked one of the township employees — Why, if you are cleaning off all the drives every time it snows, why don't you leave the gates open so we can all drive through and enjoy them this time of year, too?"
There are just two sections of the township parks that get routinely plowed, Township Public Services Director Mark VerBerkmoes said. That's the entrance to Hofma Park off Ferris Street and a small portion of Hofma Preserve off Sleeper Street.
There is a seasonal parking area at the entrance to Hofma and a small portion of the main parking that is cleared for people to park that want to use that natural area for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and hiking, VerBerkmoes explained. In both cases, these areas are plowed so park users don't have to park on the road.
"Most users don’t seem to mind walking the park drives, as they are there to enjoy the parks in all of their winter beauty anyway," he said. "In fact, this is no different than the snow that has accumulated throughout the nature trails."
However, VerBerkmoes said the township staff does make a single pass in and out of all township parks when the snow accumulates to a point that it becomes too deep to drive in. They are not completely plowed pavement edge to pavement edge. He said one pass is not safe for the general public to use or drive on.
"The reason we make a single pass is two-fold," VerBerkmoes said. "(1) To provide emergency access for our Fire/Rescue Department to the structures and accesses that are within the parks, and (2) to enable early and easier access for staff in the early spring to ensure the parks are ready to be opened once all of the snow has melted."
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