The city of Ferndale appears to have settled on plans to make major improvements — including a splash pad, outdoor amphitheater and ice-skating pond — to its largest public park, making public changes that were first reported by 8-Wood Blog last fall.
The upgrades to Martin Road Park are contained in a draft parks master plan the city released this week. It reflects public input gathered starting in 2013 from Mayor Dave Coulter’s Blue Ribbon Parks Commission, online surveys, a public open house and focus groups.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the upgrades will be made. I left a message late Friday with City Planner Justin Lyons and will update this when and if I hear back.
Comments will be accepted during a review period that ends Feb. 20. Staff plan to hold a hearing in late February to review any comments and possibly adopt the plan.
If fully implemented, the changes would dramatically remake the 32-acre park. Included in the plans are a splash pad, retention pond/ice rink, improvements to the sledding hill, an amphitheater with seating, new pathways and improved pedestrian entrances to the park, naturalized planting areas that provide wildlife habitat, a community garden, sand volleyball court and a multi-use structure with restrooms and space for concession sales.
The plan contains an inventory and assessment of the city’s 14 parks and makes six recommendations for the Parks and Recreation Department:
- Boost communications and awareness of parks and recreation
- Create partnerships to maximize resources
- Better align facilities to the current interests of residents
- Improve maintenance and operations
- Diversify recreation programming
- Identify multiple funding sources
DPW Director Loyd Cureton told me in September that the city had set aside $2 million for park improvements from a $45 million roads and parks bond measure voters approved in 2015. The city has been working on updating its parks master plan since 2015 with Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates.
Ferndale must depend on grants for much of its revenue, since dedicated parks and recreation revenues are only 65 percent of total parks and recreation expenses. The city says it collected $265,175 in revenue for its parks in 2016 and spent $408,453.
“The Plan is intended to enable the City to continue to apply for funding assistance from various agencies to work toward implementing the documented recommendations and fulfilling the Recreational goals,” a report accompanying the plan reads. “This Plan provides for five years of grant eligibility with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.”
Printed copies of the draft plan are available at city hall and the Kulick Community Center.