Park grant aimed at boardwalk and river landing

By: Linda Shepard, | Rochester Post | Published April 12, 2017

ROCHESTER HILLS — City officials are hoping a grant will help provide funds for a new Riverbend Park boardwalk and river landing.

The soon-to-be-renamed Riverbend Park is currently in development off of Hamlin Road, east of Adams Road. City officials are seeking a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for $170,000.

“It refers to two areas,” Rochester Hills Parks Director Ken Elwert said about the grant. “A connecting boardwalk and an accessible kayak launch.”

Elwert said the accessible kayak launch would feature a roller system.

“You have the ability to pull yourself on a roller, for someone in a wheelchair.”

He said many kayakers without disabilities also like the system.

“It makes many people more comfortable with getting in and out of the river,” he said.

Lost Lake Park, located on Predmore Road in Oakland Township, currently features a dock with an innovative design that accommodates wheelchair users who wish to kayak. The dock features rolling floor bars and handrails, making entry into the lake uncomplicated for all kayak users.

The new Riverbend Park boardwalk will help complete the park’s trail infrastructure, according to city officials.

The cost of the 500-foot boardwalk and an accessible Clinton River landing and rest area is estimated at $320,000. Submission of the grant required a minimum 50 percent commitment of matching funds from the city.

By a unanimous vote March 27, the Rochester Hills City Council approved the grant submission. If the grant is awarded, it is expected that construction would begin in 2018.

“There are budgeted dollars for the match,” City Council President Mark Tisdel said. 

“Thank you very much for getting on board,” Councilwoman Susan Bowyer said to Elwert.

A naming contest is currently underway to rename Riverbend Park to distinguish it from at least eight other southeast Michigan parks with the same name. 

The 130-acre park, located on land the city purchased in the 1990s, is currently under the first phase of development thanks to a private $1 million donation from the Steve and Vivian Stolaruk Foundation. An award-winning concept plan aims to fill Riverbend Park with art, nature trails, an ice skating rink, the kayak landing and more. 

Recently, the city received a separate $150,000 grant from the Michigan DNR. Those funds will be used to construct a wetland boardwalk, install trail signage and benches, build a restroom, and pave a 50-foot path to a city sidewalk that will connect to the Clinton River Trail.

Elwert said the two boardwalks will be interconnected, if the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant is approved.

“The second one will build off from the first one, to the east,” he said. “Both will be about 500 feet long, and both will go through wetlands.”

A $40,000 grant from Scotts Miracle-Gro, received in January, is funding the construction of a sensory garden.