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 If it can remain on schedule, the city of Berkley hopes to start updating Oxford/Merchants Park by the end of August. The big additions to the park will include restrooms, walking paths and a splash pad, seen here.

If it can remain on schedule, the city of Berkley hopes to start updating Oxford/Merchants Park by the end of August. The big additions to the park will include restrooms, walking paths and a splash pad, seen here.

File rendering provided by Theresa McArleton


Berkley aiming for late summer start date on park project

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 23, 2020

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BERKLEY — The development of Oxford/Merchants Park has been long-gestating for Berkley, but the city is hopeful that the project can get underway later this year.

The project has been in development for about six years, ever since the city purchased the Oxford Park property from the Berkley School District in 2014. After years of planning, it’s been decided that the park’s upgrades will include a splash pad, new play structures, installation of restroom facilities and walking paths.

Berkley Parks and Recreation Director Theresa McArleton said they recently went out to bid for the project and are expecting to get bids back by July 14. Depending on when they do, it’s her hope the City Council will be able to award the bid to the selected contractor Aug. 10 and start work on the park in late August or early September. Construction then would continue through Oct. 31.

“There would probably still need to be some work with that timeline continuing in early spring of 2021 with a completion date sometime in mid-April 2021,” she said. “All of that is dependent on factors of the bid and council approval.”

The park’s development will be partly funded through a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the United States Department of the Interior’s National Park Service in the amount of $180,000. That grant will be matched by Berkley.

Along with the $180,000, McArleton expects the city’s portion of the funding to be between $320,000 and $400,000.

City Councilwoman Bridget Dean, who also acts as the council’s liaison to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, said it’s exciting to see how interested people are in the project.

“The entire city, people are talking about it,” she said. “They can’t wait, not only for the splash pad, but the fact that there will be restrooms at the park and a walking path. It’s just, I think, a really nice enhancement to a park that has needed some attention in Berkley, and I think that it will be used by all residents.”

Dean also credited McArleton and her staff for getting the city to this point where the park project is a reality.

“Theresa and her staff have worked tirelessly, and while at some points it might have been easy for them to get discouraged, they persevered and they made this happen, and I’m very proud of Director McArleton and her staff in moving this forward and seeing it actually happen,” she said.

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