New footpath among improvements under way at Ferndale’s Harding Park

construction work under way at Harding Park.

A new looping non-motorized path, playscape, gardens and a solar-powered electronics charging station are coming to one of Ferndale’s largest and most heavily used public parks.

The improvements are spread over the next two construction seasons for Harding Park, a nearly 18-acre park just south of Interstate 696 and west of Hilton Road. Also planned are an outdoor fitness station, emergency call box, shaded pavilion, improvements to the baseball diamonds, a toddler mound with tunnel and other play equipment, and trail signage and lighting.

Crews have already been working to install the pedestrian path, digging trenches and laying crushed aggregate, and the new playscape. The City Council gave its approval to the plan Monday.

More work on other parks, including an ambitious plan to remake Martin Road Park, is pending.

A view of the new pedestrian trail.

Here’s what’s coming to Harding Park, either this year or next:

  • A semi-circular sitting garden at the end of an entrance from Inman Street and adjacent to the footpath, serving as a destination/rest area with switchgrasses and catmint, a pollinator that blooms into September. The new footpath will feature art, electronic charging station and landscaping.
  • Trail markers, signage and lighting
  • An outdoor fitness pad with equipment
  • A toddler mound with a tunnel going through it and play equipment
  • Emergency call boxes
  • Improving the baseball diamond, including a new canopy shade for the bleachers and improved backstop
  • A shaded public pavilion for events and picnic rentals
  • Rain gardens near the entrance to the playscape area along ___ and on the Inman Street pathway
  • And a pilot project to improve the basketball court by installing an interlocking flooring system at Wanda Park. If it proves to be less maintenance-intensive and popular among users, the city says it will consider installing a similar system at Harding.

The improvements, totaling an estimated $257,500, are partly covered under a 2015 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and 2015 America In Bloom grant. They’re in line with the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which the city adopted in February.

The projects are expected to be completed by fall 2018.

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