An applause rang out in the Shelby Township boardroom Tuesday evening after Trustees unamiously passed a motion to rename 23 Mile Park on Dequidre Road in honor of current Fire Chief Gene Shepherd.
"I would move to name former Soccer City Park Chief Gene Shepherd Park in recognition and gratitude for his service to Shelby Township,'" said Trustee Michael Flynn, after he introduced the motion.
Flynn, who serves as a liason for the Parks and Recreation Deparatment, said the Township has applied for three state grants, one of which would provide funding for three new soccer fields, general maintenance and rehabiliation to the park.
During the application process, the park has been generically named 23 Mile Park, said Flynn.
"I can think of no better way to show his honor then to name our park for him," added Flynn.
Several residents, including a current Shelby firefigther, appluaded the Board's decision.
"I agree. This is very appropriate. Lets do it," said resident Ron Churchill.
The park has been a point of contention for the Board for many years.
In 2008, Shelby Township bought the park back from developers, Meram Building, after the Department of Environmental Quality sued the developers for damaging the surrounding wetlands, according to C&G News. Meram was eventually acquitted of the charges. Howerver, the environmental issue fell onto the township when it reassumed ownership, the newspaper reported.
In December 2011, the township settled with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Shelby Township has said there is a plan in place to extend the hike-and-bike trail through the park in order to connect Metro Beach Metropark in Harrison Township to Shelby Township’s Stony Creek Metropark by the end of 2012.