Happy Birthday Hawk Island!

Community Built Playground Grand Opening - 2004

Community Built Playground Grand Opening – 2004

SBC Volunteers - Playground Construction 2004

SBC Volunteers – Playground Construction 2004

Two of our favorite volunteers - Playground 2004

Two of our favorite volunteers – Playground 2004

The beginnings of a Splash Pad! - 2006

The beginnings of a Splash Pad! – 2006

Building more Boardwalks - 2007-2008

Building more Boardwalks – 2007-2008

Ten years ago January 1, 2003 Hawk Island Park opened its gates as a fully operational Ingham County Park! While this may sound slightly corny – can you even imaging the City of Lansing and Ingham County without Hawk Island Park?  Even if you can, why would you want to?  This amazing park nestled in the south end of Lansing next door neighborhoods and business, is in my humble opinion one of the best things that happened in Ingham County in the last decade.

In 2003 the park was open with the beach, trail, picnic shelters, fishing docks, pedal boats and some really small trees!  Before the year 2003 had ended, an amazing group of residents led by Jim Spackman and Alfreda Schmidt engaged the community to donate funds to build a playground.  In 2004 the playground was built with the helping hands of 2,000 residents and thank you Mother Nature 7 days of unforgiving rain! But we did it and the community built playground remains an outstanding play place for children. 

In 2005 it may seem like we were resting on our laurels, but the Ingham County Park staff was busy putting together a grant application to build a Splash Pad.  In 2006 that mission was accomplished and in late summer the Splash Pad opened.  Over the course of several years with visitation to the park climbing to well over 1/2 million people each year, we have planted more trees, that are graciously growing, installed efficiency items such as hand dryers and attacked several landscaping projects.

In 2013 the community has again welcomed an addition to the park and this time it is geared for winter fun!  The Hawk Island Snow Park has thus far been a huge hit within our community. Park visitors can enjoy the tubing side of the hill or snowboard on the terrain park.  I suspect that with time and experience under our belts, this will only get better! 

We hope you have been enjoying Hawk Island over the past decade.  Who knows what may come in the next 10 years!

New Year Changes

Happy New Year!  Amazing that it is 2013 when it seems like just yesterday the world was looking ahead to Y2K!  Looks like all is well once again!

As most of you know the Parks have been working with far less funding than in past years.  Budget reductions – I should say significant budget deductions began in 2010 when over 24% of  appropriation funding was eliminated. More decreases have followed each year and again in 2013.  This year, sadly the Parks Department has  lost one staff person who will be greatly missed.  Ingham County Parks have 12.5 full time employees and hire seasonal staff to help us manage busy times.  The parks are open 364 days a year from sun up to sun down.

Our promise to you remains the same; Parks that are EXCEPTIONAL in NATURE for all 4 SEASONS. We will continue to work to have the parks available routinely and to all citizens regardless of ability to pay.

The Friends of Ingham County Parks will be fundraising in 2013 to support our outstanding park system. Check out donor options on our web page friendsofinghamcountyparks.org We can use your help!  cropped-winter-forest-ipad-wallpaper1.jpg

Live Long and Well

Life can be a walk in the Park! I had a wonderful conversation with a frequent park visitor today. Mrs. T. is 89 years old and frequently visits Burchfield and Hawk Island Parks! She really loves the pathway at Hawk Island when she is on her own and she and her son visit Burchfield when they can walk together.

What is really incredible is that this wonderful park visitor takes no prescription medications! She shared that she believes in keeping active and having a positive attitude. It makes all the difference in a good day or not so good day!

Definitely a game plan worth following! Moral of the story: Get to a park and walk, run or bike.

Parks for YOUR Community

What are Ingham County Parks doing in YOUR community? 

  • Offering important green space for urban communities
  • Creating  venues for physical activity – walk, swim, run, canoe and more
  • Meeting and party space for family gatherings, business functions and school outings
  • Supporting economic growth by being part of a vibrant community to attract new business 
  • Teaching the value of natural areas and why to preserve them for future generations
  • Making available a place for non-profit fund-raising events
  • Promoting  community awareness and pride
  • Putting forward affordable recreational opportunities for all ages
  • Giving children a place for kids to play
  • Providing outstanding local destinations for school field trips and youth group gatherings
  • Bringing tourism dollars to our communities

Getting Ready for Winter

Lake Lansing North

No doubt we have more nice fall days, but in the parks, you will see staff “battening” down the hatches!   Just like at home, the parks have to get ready for winter too.  Picnic tables are tipped so that snow doesn’t collect on them, water lines are turned off and summer “toys’ are stored for warmer days next year.  We are getting shovels, snow plows and tractors ready. 

The exciting part of winter prep is watching the winter warming houses go up, straw bails and fencing being put in place as we ready for sledding!  This year in addition to cross-country skiing, sledding and the twinkle of lights on the snow during MoonLight Ski, the residents of Ingham County are excited about the new Hawk Island Snow Park.   Snow boarding and tubing will be available on the hill.  More information to follow as the opening gets closer. 

You don’t need your boots and mittens just yet, but we in the parks are looking forward to snowflakes, snowmen and winter fun.

10th Anniversary Season a Success

The Friends of Ingham County Parks and the Lake Lansing Band Shell Committee are pleased to announce a successful conclusion to our Anniversary Season. Nearly 10,000 park visitors enjoyed the FREE Friday evening summer concerts.

A huge thank you to our sponsors:

J’s Cone Zone * American Legion Post #269
East Lansing/Meridian Lions Club * Lake Trust Credit Union
Fahey, Schultz, Burzych, Rhodes PLC * MSUFCU
Fast Eddie’s Car Wash – Oil Change * Haslett Marathon
Okemos Kiwanis Club * Ingham County Medical Care Facility
Lake Lansing Property Owners Association * Sunrise Seamless
Leo’s Lodge/Leo’s Outpost/Leo’s Spirits & Grub
NU Image Barbers * Okemos Wellness Center
Rotary Club of Haslett-Okemos * The Mayfair Bar
The Blue Gill Grill The Watershed Tavern & Grill
The Emmer Agency / David Chapman Agency