Tonight I took advantage of the fine late-November weather and rode my bike through the neighborhood when I stumbled upon a nice surprise at series of formerly disjointed green spaces along the railroad tracks in Pleasant Ridge.
I hadn’t been over here in a while and found what was obviously a freshly laid asphalt pathway connecting what were formerly two disconnected city parks and a municipal dog park.
The broad, paved pathway connects Victoria Park, starting at Sylvan Street to the south, through Gainsboro Park all the way to the city’s dog park along the border of the I-696 service drive (technically known as East 10 Mile Road).
It’s a nice place to ride, and it does wonders to tie together what had previously felt like chopped-up parks, soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts and green spaces.
Before, you mostly had to walk or ride your bike over grassy areas or softball diamonds to reach the rest of the park if you didn’t want to ride the long way around the block. Now, they’re much more seamlessly connected, and the pathway makes the narrow ribbon of a park feel much larger and more accessible.
The project is also notable for what’s no longer there. Construction documents posted online show that crews have removed trees and stumps, fences, curbs and gutters, overhead power lines and utility poles, and lots of pavement. Gainsborough Avenue, viewable in the map below, is gone.
A parent I know from coaching soccer who was there with his son on Sunday told me that the city demolished a home that had long sat unsold on the market to accommodate the pathway. Unfortunately, the pathway also appears to have sacrificed a large community garden near Devonshire.
Gainsboro Park also sports new playground equipment and a renovated shelter, courtesy of $150,000 from the Pleasant Ridge Foundation, according to the Woodward Talk, a weekly local newspaper. Voters in the city in 2014 also approved a parks-improvement millage that will bring in $1 million over 10 years.