The former Family Aquatic Center, located at 6200 Farmington Road in West Bloomfield, closed in June 2017 for a complete redevelopment. The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission is planning on developing a splash park and playground on the property.

The former Family Aquatic Center, located at 6200 Farmington Road in West Bloomfield, closed in June 2017 for a complete redevelopment. The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission is planning on developing a splash park and playground on the property.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Design plans approved for former FAC property

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 8, 2018

 The new development will reopen to the public in summer 2019.

The new development will reopen to the public in summer 2019.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WEST BLOOMFIELD — On March 22, the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission voted to approve design plans for the new construction at 6200 Farmington Road — the location of the former Family Aquatic Center. 

Parks Director Jennifer Tucker said that now staff members can begin the permitting process and solidify plans for the 5-acre property so they can create a construction plan and go out to bid for the project. 

The design plan, which is not a definitive design of what the new property will include, outlines a new splash park and playground. The project will consist of a splash pad, spray structures and ground sprays, as well as new playground equipment.

“This is just a concept,” said Tucker. “This is basically to give an idea of what the feeling and the idea we’re going for and what we’re trying to produce. When we put together construction plans, that’s when you’ll see specifics.” 

The Parks and Recreation Commission announced in June 2017 that the FAC was to close for demolition due to its dated and decaying infrastructure. The former FAC was demolished earlier this year. 

Previously, Parks Superintendent Steve Ketchum called the facility an “energy hog” that cost over $60,000 in utilities alone, and the commission lost $280,000 on the facility in 2016.

The new development is set to open in summer 2019. 

The redevelopment of the former FAC has worried community members because the design does not include a public pool, like the former FAC had. 

Commissioner Margie Fiszman-Kirsch expressed her concerns about who the park will actually serve. 

“Who are we serving?” she asked. “My concern … is the composition of our community and the age that this park seems to be targeting.”

Fiszman-Kirsch said she understands that the township wants to attract younger families, but she said this project makes her uncomfortable. 

Tucker said that in the end, the design plan is just a concept, and nothing has been set in stone. The commission has the final word on the features of the new project. 

Echoing Fiszman-Kirsch’s sentiments, members of the public spoke at the meeting about their desire for a swimming pool. 

“If it is just a splash park, you can (expect) students up to elementary school,” said West Bloomfield resident Ramesh Shamoty. “A lot of traffic that came to this aquatic center is young kids, tweens, teens and young adults who enjoyed the pool. What about the other citizens?”

Resident Tina Moore said she has been a longtime opponent of having a splash pad in place of a swimming pool in West Bloomfield. 

“There is a demographic of this community who is being disserviced by putting in a splash park and not having those who would want to have the use of a swimming pool,” she said. “No one, including myself, is in disagreement … that the facility that was there was not adequate. What we, as citizens, are asking is that there be some consideration to not just having a splash park but also some sort of pool.” 

Moore said that the splash park will only serve a small fraction of residents: young kids, and that anyone older than a teenager won’t use it. 

“I don’t want to have to go to (a different community) to swim … when my tax dollars are being used for things that are servicing us as an entire community,” Moore said. 

Tucker said that there are seven local high schools that all have pools, along with Lifetime Fitness, the Jewish Community Center and Aqua Tots. She emphasized that the FAC was not financially responsible to continue operating, and many pools require large amounts of money to stay in operation.

Ketchum added that the county parks system has two wading pools, and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system has aquatic centers available to the public. 

“We are trying to get residents an opportunity to get the same service that they were getting,” said Tucker. “These other places can deliver those services in a more financially responsible way. All of these things were very deliberately looked at by the commission.” 

The vote to approve the design plan for the 6200 Farmington Road property passed 6-1, with Commissioner Gerald Sukenic voting against it. 

“What I hear from residents … what I still feel is that they still want a pool,” said Sukenic. “I have to go on record that I am not in favor of a splash pad.” 

For more information about the former FAC and the plans for the property, visit www.wbparks.org/family-aquatic-center.html.