Ferndale eyeing big improvements to Martin Road Park

A rendering of a proposed splash pad at Martin Road Park. All renderings by Hamilton Anderson Associates.
A rendering of a proposed splash pad at Martin Road Park.

Water features, a splash park, native plantings and a natural amphitheater for outdoor concerts are among the ambitious ideas Ferndale officials will be considering as part of a planned makeover of Martin Road Park, the city’s largest green space.

The proposals are still in the conceptual stage and have yet to be reviewed by members of the city’s planning commission. They are outlined in a series of renderings prepared by Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates.

They’ll be discussed officially for the first time by the city’s parks commission when it meets Sept. 22 at the Kulick Center.

“We would really like to make this a focal point or a jewel,” Department of Public Works Director Loyd Cureton said.

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One of two rendering of proposed park improvements. | Renderings by Hamilton Anderson Associates

Among the new features being discussed are ponds or other water features, a splash pad, new buildings for concession stands, native tree and wildflower gardens, a concert amphitheater contoured into the earth, picnic shelters and improved restrooms, Cureton said. The park would retain its soccer fields, he said.

“All this is very conceptual,” Cureton said. “It’s part of a long list of things that we’re considering.

“It’s a pretty big plan with a significant cost to it.”

The proposed changes are part of a $45 million bond to improve roads and parks that voters approved in 2015. Of the bond, $2 million is earmarked for parks improvements, Cureton said.

The proposals are also part of a five-year parks plan under the city’s comprehensive review of its master plan.

master-plan-2Ferndale has been making improvements at many of its 14 parks recently using money from the city’s general fund and in-kind donations. Crews have installed new playground equipment at Garbutt Park and Harding Park and installed a memorial at the latter to Kayla White, a Ferndale native who was killed in 2014 in a traffic accident while eight months pregnant. The city also installed its first dog park at Wilson Park last year.

Separately, the city late last year won a pair of $75,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants to fund improvements at Martin Road and Harding parks including new paved walking paths and play structures, native tree plantings and recycling bins. Cureton said officials are trying to make the bond-improvement plans “fit seamlessly” with those plans.

In producing the latest proposals, the city incorporated feedback from a survey sent to residents and the Blue Ribbon Parks Commission, established 2013 by Mayor Dave Coulter.

“Martin Road is getting extra attention just because … it’s the biggest park and it has the most area to work with,” city Planner Justin Lyons said. “Martin I think, based on the research that some of the consultants are doing, has the opportunity to make the biggest splash.”

The city signed a contract with Hamilton Anderson worth $97,665 to help with its master plan review, then signed a contract change in March worth an additional $7,500.

Lyons said the parks commission could forward its recommendations to the planning commission by October or November. The plans would need ultimate sign-off from the City Council.

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