The History of
Parks & Recreation; Stages of Transition
General formation of the G.R.W.B.P.R.C. - Greater-Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks & Recreation Commission initiated by the Village of Romeo (Merlin Kerr, John Schueler, Bob Jones, Elaine Campbell, R.J Brainard). Regional recreation group formed basically for purposes of securing facility development funds from the State of Michigan recreation bond project for creation of additional recreation facilities in the Romeo District.
Washington Township, Bruce Township, and Romeo Community Schools approached for assistance and support in securing and administering approved bond grant monies.
G.R.W.B.P.R.C. formalized to include village, townships and school district. Begins to meet with basic regularity. Seeks funding support from governmental entities for dispersal to community agencies to run programs.
Village, township, school district and at-large trustees appointed to the Commission by respective entities, G.R.W.B.P.R.C. receives funding support from the Village of Romeo, Washington and Bruce Townships. Commission sets format for funding local groups. (i.e. Romeo Jr. Baseball, Romeo Girl’s Softball and Washington Area Athletic Association) and directs monies to groups for programming cost assistance.
Commission elects Richard Cory, Community Center Director, Chairman of the G.R.W.B.P.R.C. Continues to fund area groups to run programs. Planning begins on larger program formats, also on programs to be run by the commission alone.
School District begins to discuss development of a Community Education Program. District does study and reports findings and proposals to G.R.W.B.P.R.C. and school board.
School district inaugurates Community Service Program. Sets dual priorities.
A) Develop enrichment and recreation programs for people of all ages in the district both on an individual and joint basis (with G.R.W.B.P.R.C.).
B) Assess community needs and begin to develop program format to deal with Community Education component areas (high school, completion, human services, extended services, pre-school, etc.) which are observed as needs of the general community not being serviced by other agencies.
Community Service Director becomes member of Commission and begins to program in cooperation with the G.R.W.B.P.R.C.
Cooperation and programs continue to grow. Need established for more administrative assistance in programming areas. Full-time, parks and recreation professional seen as being necessary to further develop an all encompassing parks & recreation program. Community Services Department assessments also determines need for a number of other programs (non-recreational-educational)
Campaign begins for the hiring of a Parks & Recreation Director to head all recreation programs for the G.R.W.B.P.R.C. and another for assistance in the Community Services Department.
Robert Fox hired by Washington and Bruce Township to direct the G.R.W.B.P.R.C.
Village of Romeo drops from membership in the Commission.
Commission begins to assume leadership in coordination of all recreation programs. Schools provide assistance, services and funding to assist the further growth and development of the Commission. Programs still operate on a joint basis. Recreation programs and activities increase greatly under new format.
G.R.W.B.P.R.C. independently assumes coordination of district recreation programs. School district continues to supply housing, in-kind services and funding for recreation programs.
Community Services Department opens high school completion program, tuition based pre-school program, expands extended services component, begin preparation for opening of new district facilities and further develops adult enrichment offerings.
Cooperation between the two entities creates a situation where the most people can participate in the programs, housed in the best facilities, during the most desirable times at the least expense.
Renee Rumph hired as full time Accountant hired in 1979 for G.R.W.B.P.R.C.
Eric M. Wurmlinger hired as director of G.R.W.B.P.R.C. to replace Robert Fox who makes a career change. Elected township officials begin to establish a direct line of communication with G.R.W.P.R.C. administration.
Senior Citizen Transportation becomes a major component of G.R.W.B.P.R.C. Sandi Kaiser hired as full time Operation Manager.
Townships exhibit a desire to become more involved in the budget process of Parks & Recreation. Townships and the Commission meet to restructure the Commission.
Romeo Community School Board of Education dissolves their role as a managing partner of the G.R.W.B.P.R.C. In its place, they develop in-kind services agreement with the remaining Washington and Bruce Township’s Commission Representatives.
Greg Brynaert hired as director of G.R.W.B.P.R.C. to replace Eric M. Wurmlinger, who makes a career change. S.T.A.R renews its second millage.
Name change: The words, Greater and Commission are dropped from organization name to read “Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks & Recreation.” Due to the confusion and difficulty in remembering and associating the letters. Emphasis will be on “Parks & Recreation.”
Present seven member commission dissolves itself due to the feeling they were no longer needed. The commission is reorganized to one Township Board member representatives from Bruce, Gary Schocke and Washington, RJ Brainard.
Romeo Schools give space at Croswell Site to open the community’s first Older Adult Center, Parks and Recreation and Community Enrichment offices.
Due to the loss of Federal Revenue Sharing funds, the Department was forced to pass its first Recreation Millage .75 mills for five years. (.50 for administration - .25 facility improve & Dev)
Older Adult Coordinator Dorothy Hill’s position is moved to full time because of need and demand.
Hired first full time Recreation Coordinator, Mark D. Vagi.
First Recreation Master Plan is approved.
S.T.A.R. renews its third millage.
Built & purchased new playground equipment at Romeo Youth Center and at Washington Elementary. Air Conditioning installed at Croswell site within the Senior Center.
Built and purchased playground equipment for Croswell site, and added playground equipment at Amanda Moore and Washington Elementary. Received 1st DNR Grant “Quality of Life Funds” to build Community Park behind new Washington Township Building.
Entered into 20 year lease with Washington Lions Club for a portion of their property.
Hired Dave Williams as full time Recreation Coordinator to replace Mark Vagi who made a career change. Developed plans for Washington Community Park and Eastview Playground.
Renewed P&R 2nd Millage .75 mills for five years. Washington Community Park development started.
Hired Mary Militello as Older Adult Coordinator replacing Dorothy Hill who made a career change.
Opened part-time 2nd Senior Center at Washington Township, new building. Grand opening of Washington Community Park.
Built Orchard Hills playground.
Built Washington Twp. Park Pavilion.
Signed lease with the Village of Romeo to take over and Maintain the Romeo Youth Center now called the Romeo Community Center. Moved from Croswell site because RCS turned it back into a working school. Additions made to building including P&R and STAR offices and the Romeo Senior Activity Center.
Built Washington Twp. Park Playground.
Renee Rumph, full time Accountant left to be a stay at home mom and Mary Jo Bommarito was hired.
Hamilton Parson Elementary Ball field & soccer field added Community Center Pavilion added
Automated phone system to connect Romeo & Washington Centers. Washington Basement storage room converted to an exercise room.
Brought electric from road to fields at Crystal Diamonds.
Added sled hill to Romeo Community Center Grounds.
Community Center Barn added.
Mary Militello retired from the position as Senior Center Director and Bernice Webb was hired. Addition of Senior Activity Center rooms to Washington Sr. Center
Addition of Skate Park to RHS old Tennis Courts.
Basketball Court/Ice Rink added to Community Center
Repaved Washington Tennis Courts & added lights
Added well to Crystal Diamonds.
Built Pavilion at Orchard Hills Park
Phase one of Gilcher-Crissman property, initial clean up & construction Networked computers for Romeo & Washington Sites.
Moved Skate Park and added additional pieces to a new location in the back of the RHS so they could expand the school parking lot
Bruce Walking Trail added.
Phase two of Gilcher-Crissman property, grade, level and seed soccer areas,
Added new playgrounds at Gilcher-Crissman and Bruce Twp. Park Added gravel parking lot to Bruce Twp. Park
Resurfaced Romeo Community Center front parking lot.
Created gravel driveway and parking area at Gilcher-Crissman Park. Replaced registration program system with RECPRO from Recware.
Replaced Community Center Playground Added 2 Ball fields to Gilcher-Crissman.
New Commission members: Kathy Bosheers is appointed for Washington replacing Gary Kirsh and Susan Brockmann for Bruce Township, replacing Gary Schocke.
Addition completed to the Romeo Community Center of Fitness Center, new STAR Offices and storage areas.
Added walking trail at Gilcher-Crissman.
Sandy Keown, Senior Activity Centers Director retires from full time and Debbie Webber is hired to fill the position.
Resurface Orchard Hills walking trail. Bruce Twp. Park Walking Path added.
Assisted in installation of electric & irrigation system at Gilcher-Crissman (West side).
Built pavilion at Bruce Twp. Park Added electric to Bruce Twp. Park.
Addition of Bruce Twp. Pavilion
AED machine added to Washington.
Sandi Kaiser, STAR Operation Manager retires after 31 years and Dori Lawrence who has been her assistant is hired to fill the vacancy.
Debbie Webber, Senior Activity Centers Director moves out of state and Becky Hopp is hired to fill the position.
To watch Richard Corey talk about the history of the Youth Center, the backbone of the history of RWB Parks & Recreation, play the video below. Video produced by our Sponsor and supporter, The Mitt TV.