Construction on Berkley park makes strides in fall

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published December 8, 2020

 The installation of a splash pad at Oxford/Merchants Park has begun, but it will not be completed until the spring.  A portion of the park’s new splash pad can be seen here.

The installation of a splash pad at Oxford/Merchants Park has begun, but it will not be completed until the spring. A portion of the park’s new splash pad can be seen here.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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BERKLEY — After years of development, the city of Berkley began improvements on one of its parks back in the fall.

Construction on Oxford/Merchants Park started in September after Labor Day. It has continued into December, but it will be postponed until the spring once heavy snowfall arrives.

So far, the site’s underground, utility, electric and plumbing work has been completed, said Parks and Recreation Director Theresa McArleton. The initial construction of the splash pad and walkways also have started.

“For the work that was scheduled for the fall, we’re probably about 80%-85% done,” she said. “We have another week or two that we might be able to get in just because the weather hasn’t completely frozen. So that could possibly complete us where we were planning to be in the fall. We were always planning to do work in the spring. That was always part of the plan, but a lot has been done at this point to where we’re at.”

When spring arrives, Berkley plans to finish the splash pad, walkways, brick and mortar for the restrooms, and to install new playground equipment.

McArleton hopes to get back to construction in March, but it’s all weather dependent. She stated in the past her aim to have everything completed no later than the end of April.

“It honestly depends on what the weather’s giving us, and I can’t say what that’s going to be,” she said.

The park’s development has been ongoing for six years. Berkley purchased the Oxford Park property — which neighbored Merchants Park — from the school district in 2014.

Adriane Bitel, president of the Friends of Berkley Parks and Recreation, was deeply involved in the development and conversations around the Oxford/Merchants Park updates. She recounted how she and others helped facilitate surveys at the Community Center to help generate ideas for the park.

Bitel said the park is close to her home and one that she’s visited frequently, though it was a bit outdated and needed something more. She called the splash pad a great idea, as well as the installation of new playground equipment.

“It was such a beautiful open space just needing to be so much greater,” she said of the park. “It’s a nice, beautiful landscape with so much potential, and I’m just really happy the city and everybody could agree on an update to the park.”

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