Beverly HillsJuly 24, 2012
Riverside Park modifications in line with plan, officials say
By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer
BEVERLY HILLS — Despite some concerns that recent projects to restore the riverbank and native species at Riverside Park made the area less accessible to some residents, village officials said they are pleased with the work done by Six Rivers Conservancy.
At the Village Council’s June 19 meeting, resident Alda McCook said she was concerned that an area of grass at the park had been replaced with woodchips. McCook indicated the park is no longer accessible to wheelchairs, and asked that the woodchips be replaced with grass once more.
Following that meeting, the council instructed village officials to look into the park’s modifications.
On June 2, members of the Six Rivers Land Conservancy and local volunteers gathered to plant native gardens at Riverside Park and the Douglas Evans Nature Preserve as part of Rouge Rescue 2012 events that were taking place across the metro area.
Deep-root plants such as bulrushes, big bluestem (also known as prairie tallgrass), butterfly bush, and low-lying grasses and sedges were installed along the riverbank in order to naturally filter storm water and remove pollutants, and stop runoff from entering the river.
Village Administrative Assistant Erin Wilks, who coordinated volunteers for the project, said she had not heard any complaints regarding the woodchips.
“They were just put in one spot where they mulched and where the planting was done,” she said.
In spring of 2011, the village of Beverly Hills, Oakland County, Six Rivers Land Conservancy, the Alliance of Rouge Communities and the cities of Birmingham and Southfield received $15,869 to cover river projects in the three municipalities. The work was scheduled to take place from fall of 2011 through the spring of 2012, covering urban wetlands conservation and restoration, installation of signage, and public education. A sketch of the planned improvements for Riverside Park was developed by Oakland County and submitted to the village last June.
Councilman John Mooney said that as the council’s liaison to Parks and Recreation Board, he did check in on the park himself.
“I don’t want to say how I found it, but I think it was in conformity with what we talked about a year ago and what was talked about by Six Rivers Conservancy,” he said.
“It was advertised and publicized as well as we can. I think you have to take a look if you want to have a feeling of what the complaint was and how Riverside Park looks right now.”
Council President Rosanne Koss said that in the meantime, she received several emails from residents who approved of the park improvements and the woodchips.
“They thought the woodchips were more environmentally friendly and better to walk on,” she said.
McCook could not be reached for further comment.
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