Banotai Park, formally known as Sherwood Park, consists of 81.82 acres on the northwest corner of Sherwood Road and Wear Road.
In 1960 this property consisted mostly of low land and wet areas.
The property was named after John Sherwood, who was the Supervisor of Sumpter Township from 1932 to 1942. Possibly it
was named after him by virtue of the fact that he was the Supervisor and lived on Sherwood Road at the time. However, by the early 1960’s the same property was owned by Walter Harvard, who lived in Detroit and apparently put it in the hands of Circle Investment Corp. Supervisor Kozma was in office at this time.
In 1968, Circle Investment Corp. pursued and was granted a permit
for the excavation and resale of soil from the property that would ultimately create the pond that become known as Sherwood Lake. They removed a total of 750,000 cubic yards of soil all with regulatory agencies approvals.
When they had completed their excavation in 1978, they offered Sumpter Township a purchase agreement at the cost to the Township of $82,350.00. Later they decided to offer the property to the Township as a charitable contribution for 32,500.00. Robert Demski was the Supervisor at the time and apparently accepted the offer, requiring that they pay the 1975 taxes, bringing the purchase price to $29,735.36, and the deal was closed. Shorty after this Sumpter Township applied for a DNR grant for the purchase of this property. This was approved and the Township received $32,500.00 in reimbursements. Between 1979 and 1989 many more grants were applied and all were denied.
In 1986 Supervisor Clarence Hoffman Jr. formed the Sherwood Lake Development Committee. In 1987 this Committee proposed a plan to develop 45 acres of the parkland so that 200 houses could be built around the lake. It was never developed.
Real maintenance of the Park did not start until 1990, when Supervisor Marvin L Banotai started utilizing the TRV program and the Parks and Recreation Commission for that purpose, and held community events there for the public to enjoy. He also enlisted the Huron Valley Conservation Club’s help in stocking the lake and conducting fishing clinics.
In 2004 after the passing of Supervisor Banotai, the Park formerly know as Sherwood Park was renamed the Municipal Marvin L Banotai Park. In 2005, with the approval of Supervisor Johnny Vawters and the present board, Parks and Recreation has entered into a five year plan of improvements for the park. That year alone, it purchased and installed approximately $40,000.00 of playground equipment, cleared more land for use, and built two pavilions for group events and picnics.
On September 29,2006, after the above improvements to the park were completed, a dedication service was held and the Park was rededicated in the name of the former Supervisor Marvin L Banotai with the “lake” now being designated as “Sherwood Pond”.
Currently more work is being completed, a defined parking area was established, split rail fencing installed, a beach and swimming area created, permanent trash cans installed, and grass and landscaping planted. This is now a work in progress with more to come in the future.
The year 2009 was a good year for Banotai Park. In the spring a new modular bathnroom from Fitzpatrick Industies was installed. This double bath ( men's and women's ) is ADA approved, barrier free, wheelchair accessible, and uses solar power for lights. In the fall two new pedestal fountains from Most Dependable Fountains Inc. were installed. Each fountain has a drinking fountain, another drinking fountain for wheelchair access. and a hand wash basin with an Ultra Sense Faucet with hands free operation. In the pedestals there is a jug filling option which provides water for jugs and bottles. Both fountains, one by the bathroom and one in the south end of the park, should be a welcomed addition for park users.
Many changes and additions have been made at Banotai Park over the last couple of years. The beach has been enlarged and more sand has been added. We now have a sand volleyball court installed for the citizens to enjoy. The playground has new spring toys and merry-go-rounds for the little kids to play on. The size of the parking lot has been increased and will have lights installed later this year. Picnic tables and grills have been added, new horseshoe pits are at each pavilion, and the fishing pier has been made bigger to allow for more fishing. The road has been resurfaced with asphalt milling to provide a better surface and minimize dust. Please come out to the park and enjoy the swimming, picnicking, and other activities for family fun.