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TROY, MI.-City leaders have created a task force to help sort out nearly 10 years of discussion about what to do with the city’s Civic Center.

The Civic Center Priority Task Force has been meeting since September to discuss the placement of additions they’d like to see placed on the city’s 21 acres of open space.

The goal is to preserve the park-like nature of the site, while improving the draw for community events, said Task Force Chairman Brian Wattles, who is a member of Troy’s Historical Commission. He called the balance “a quality of life” issue.

The 13-member task force consists of one representative from various city committees and boards. Its members plan to present a proposal to city council in January.

The proposal will not involve existing buildings or 11 acres on the southeast side of the Civic Center that may be sold to a private company.

Council members have determined that the L-shaped park land is prime for a potential conference center, hotel and retail area to foster public and private partnerships at the city complex, according to Doug Smith, director of real estate and development for Troy.

The city plans to ask residents in an April 2004 election whether to sell or lease the 11 acres.

The task force will meet again to assess the property if the public decides not to develop the park land for commercial development. In the meantime, the group has narrowed the community’s wish list to about five items.

They are: First, improve paths and walkways throughout the Civic Center property to connect existing buildings such as the Troy Community Center and the library, and to provide residents with fitness paths for biking, walking and jogging.

A winter activity area is also being discussed to allow ice skating and sledding, since the site already has a skate park on the east end. And if more people are visiting the center area for recreation, the committee foresees a need for rest rooms and seating areas.

An amphitheater with grass seating for musical events, art in the park and movies has also been suggested, along with improving the landscaping throughout the entire Civic Center.

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