Osius Park renovations likely to be phased in

By: K. Michelle Moran, | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 19, 2017

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — New tennis courts will be coming to Osius Park, but they might not be coming in time for players this summer.

Grosse Pointe Shores City Councilman Robert Barrette, the council liaison to the Park and Harbor Committee, said they’re considering several options, including moving the courts to the south of the forthcoming new entrance driveway or replacing the old courts at the current location.

“They’re basically playable currently,” he said during a March 21 City Council meeting.

If the city was to undertake reconstruction of the courts now, Barrette said, there’s a good chance residents wouldn’t be able to play tennis at Osius Park this summer. If the city does opt to go that route, he said the Shores would talk to Grosse Pointe North High School about possibly making arrangements to use its courts during the summer.

A priority among officials is building a gatehouse with a park ranger who can check park passes before visitors enter the Osius Park parking lot, something that’s done at the other residents-only parks in the Grosse Pointes. But that means reconfiguring the entrance to the parking lot to create a lane for visitors as they pull in — one that would allow several cars to stack up without clogging traffic on Lake Shore Road.

Over the last couple of years, residents have expressed concerns about nonresidents using the park and the Osius Park parking lot, which led officials to look into new security measures. Now, anyone can enter the park’s lot, although they need a park pass to get into the park itself. The current guard gatehouse is at the entrance to the park.

Barrette acknowledged that the effort to improve security and the aging tennis courts has “been a long time” in the making, but officials say they want to get it right.

“I can guarantee the product at the end is going to be outstanding,” City Councilman Bruce Bisballe said.

Bisballe noted that the park plan involves more than just replacing the tennis courts and moving the guard gatehouse to the entrance of the parking lot. Other elements of the project include new lighting and electrical, he said.

Bisballe’s sentiments were echoed by City Councilman Robert Gesell.

“It’s going to be a beautiful park when we’re through with it, and it’s going to provide the safety aspect we’re looking for,” Gesell said.

Although final dollar amounts weren’t available at press time, officials say it’s not going to be cheap.

“It’s going to come with a price tag,” said Bisballe, who also chairs the city’s Finance Committee. “Is it long overdue? Probably. Do our residents want it? Definitely.”

At press time, Mayor Ted Kedzierski said the city was awaiting bids for the tennis courts and they were still working on designs for the new gatehouse.

“We’re concerned about the timing of the project and the numbers,” he said after the meeting.

One of the big issues with regard to the new gatehouse is the fact that officials discovered that there’s a water main directly underneath the place where they were planning on building the gatehouse, Kedzierski said. Before the structure can be built, the city needs to move that water main.

Kedzierski said city officials hope to model the gatehouse on the one used by the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, albeit on a smaller scale, because the Shores building won’t need its own restroom.

“It would be a very welcoming building (and) very architecturally significant,” he said.

Once the city receives and agrees on a design, Kedzierski said, it can send it out to builders for bids.

“None of us are going to put our name on a half-assed project,” Bisballe said after the March 21 meeting.

City Manager Mark Wollenweber said the Shores would most likely tackle the tennis courts “right after Labor Day.” He said the gatehouse could be completed after the pool opens for the summer, because that project is “less disruptive” than the tennis courts, which are situated inside the park itself.

“Most likely, the entranceway will be done first” before the tennis courts, Wollenweber said.