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December 12, 2012

City officials envision new pathway around Municipal Lawn

Council approves motion to seek bids, then decide on spring construction

By Jessica Strachan
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
City officials envision new pathway around Municipal Lawn
The Planning Department will seek bids and funding opportunities to install a perimeter pathway loop around the Southfield Municipal Lawn, as shown in the graphic. The cost is estimated to be around $111,000, according to City Planner Terry Croad.

SOUTHFIELD — City officials see Southfield’s Municipal Complex as a “canvas” of sorts, and health is at the center of that blank canvas, council members explained during a recent meeting.

A proposed sidewalk loop for recreational activities, which would encompass the lawn, leads the way in promoting healthy activity on municipal grounds.

“Parks and Recreation has had a plan, pretty much on the books for 20 years, of doing a circular loop in the front lawn,” City Planner Terry Croad explained to council during the Dec. 3 meeting. “I thought it was a great idea for many reasons. As you know, we’re trying to make the City Centre District more pedestrian-friendly and also put life on the street.”

The pathway was first introduced to council back in September, and Croad was charged with the task of finding and presenting estimates and construction proposals from consulting engineers at Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc.

Preliminary estimates from the city’s engineer were given for the project happening in two concurrent parts: Phase 1 to build the oval walk and Phase 1A to complete additional items in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The total amounted to $111,996.

Croad noted that the Planning Department has identified potential funding sources, including the City Centre District, the Community Development Block Grant program, the Metro Act and the tree fund. No general funds are obligated to the project, he added.

Councilwoman Joan Seymour was against the idea.

“I’m really not in favor of this project. … Parks and Recreation designed an idea of a circular walk that never got approved as a project, and there’s a reason that it was never done,” she said. “My concern is that we’re basically destroying a park by putting in a walkway for something that we can basically only use in warm weather.”

Seymour added that she was in favor of adding features compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and access to parking, but not the pathway. She also fears that the sidewalk would be used for skateboards and bicycles more than walkers or joggers.

Councilman Jeremy Moss said he wouldn’t have a problem with the pathway being used for bikes or skateboards and that the idea helps make the area a “destination place.”

“(This fits in) the broader vision of what we’ve been talking about. I think the idea is that we want to bring people out to come and enjoy it,” he said. “What a better way to connect the city to the people who work, live and play here, even if it is skateboarders.”

The revamped green space would help create “exciting culture” in the city, he added.

Croad said he doesn’t believe the target audience would be bicyclers or skateboarders.

“I really do see this as encouraging walking for residents, for employees, and for businesses and students in the community. And I do think it will get used year round,” he said about the pathway, which would equal a mile, when walked 2.5 times. “There’s nothing that says this is a friendly community more than seeing people walk down the street, especially in twos or threes.”

Mayor Brenda Lawrence was also in support of the idea to spruce up the complex for locals to jog, walk their dogs or even have lunch on the lawn.

She is also very active in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program against
childhood obesity and said the pathway would attract younger families, promote a vibrant community and set an example for residents to be active.

“To me, it shows that leadership, that we want a community that is healthy and we are going to support it,” she said.

Councilman Myron Frasier noted that “Michigan is one of the fattest states in the country (and) childhood obesity is rampant,” but said he supports promoting walking and activeness around the community for nostalgic reasons, too.

“When I was a kid, people sat on their front porch and watched the neighbors walk by and talked to their neighbors. Well, this is our front porch,” he said. “This is an opportunity for people to meet — meet their neighbors, meet new friends, friends they have never met before.”

Council motioned to allow Croad to seek bids and return with estimates for a later vote. The motion was supported by five members; Seymour and Sidney Lantz were the “nay” votes.

After the motion carried, Lantz said that he wasn’t opposed to the idea of a pathway around the Municipal Lawn, but that he worried about the timing of spending money, even with grant funding.

“People are going to look at this and say, hey, I can’t afford food; I can’t afford to live, and the city is spending a couple hundred thousand dollars on trees and sidewalks.”

Croad said that the goal date for the 8-foot-wide pathway is spring 2013, before any major events are hosted. He will return before council with bids and funding possibilities at an upcoming meeting.


An overview of the project, by Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc.

HRC provided a conceptual layout of the proposed project, along with estimates, broken into three phases:

• Installing the primary oval walk on the front lawn, except the portion that would impact the complex’s power supply.
• Installing the connecting walkway to the Southfield Public Library and Evergreen Road adjacent to the fountain area.
• Installing the remaining portion of the main oval with the municipal offices’ power supply.
• According to consulting engineers Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc.’s conceptual layout, some trees would require relocation to create a “tunnel of trees” effect over the walking path.
• The estimates total $111,995.63 and are broken down as follows:

Phase 1
• Remove/relocate 12 existing trees: $3,600
• Sidewalk removal for 698 square feet: $523.50
• Station grading: $4,590
• Four-inch aggregate base: $6,210
• Eight-foot wide and five-inch thick concrete walk: $49,200
• Drainage allowance: $5,000
• Irrigation system allowance for repairs and relocations: $4,500
• Soil erosion and sediment control: $2,500
• Restoration of disturbed lawn area for average of four feet on both sides: $5,440
• Contingencies at 10 percent: $8,156.35
• Engineering costs: $12,234.53
Phase 1 total: $101,954.38

Phase 1A (ADA portions, to be built concurrently)
• Curb and gutter removals: $564
• Eight-foot wide and five-inch thick concrete walk: $1,920
• Eight-food wide sidewalk ramps: $1,749
• Truncated dome pads, two-feet by four-feet: $1,650
• Four-inch aggregate base: $270
• Two-foot concrete curb and gutter: $1,880
• Contingencies at 10 percent: $8,033
• Engineering costs: $1,204.95
Phase 1A total: $10,041.25

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Jessica Strachan at jstrachan@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1108.