Council approves new play structure for Garbutt Park this spring

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published March 17, 2015

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FERNDALE — Garbutt Park has long been on the list of upgrades for city officials, but with collaboration between the Parks and Recreation Department, the Department of Public Works and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, the park will be the recipient of a new play structure this spring.


The Ferndale City Council approved the play structure at a cost of $99,965 from GameTime Sinclair Recreation at the March 9 meeting. The plan is to have the structure installed by the end of April.


“I’m thrilled to see such a great proposal put forward,” Everett Keyser, a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, said. “I think it is fantastic. Garbutt has long since been one of the parks that needed a new structure for many, many years, and I am glad to see it replaced.”


The two departments and the advisory committee made a presentation to council at the Jan. 26 meeting that outlined plans for the year at the city’s parks. Garbutt Park was highlighted in the presentation.


The play structure, which was included in the 2014-15 budget, will include a play area for younger kids, a swingset that includes an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant swing, and a large play set for older kids.


“We worked with (the DPW) on putting this proposal together, and it will definitely enhance Garbutt Park,” Matt Campanella, with Sinclair Recreation, said. “We included a nice area on the side for children 2-5, and a larger structure for children ages 5-12 with a full gamut of activities. And we hope to see exciting pathways around so the play structure can be easily traversed.”


DPW Director Loyd Cureton said Garbutt Park is one of the city’s more heavily used parks, as DPW workers go out at the beginning of every week to clean it and fix it. The DPW will prepare the area for the new play structure before the structure is professionally installed, which should happen by the end of April.


“As soon as the snow is melted, we will prepare a 75-foot square, excavate dirt and a fall zone, and have that area prepared,” Cureton said. “Garbutt has been earmarked because the play structure there has reached the end of its life and is potentially hazardous. That structure will come down very soon.”


Councilman Greg Pawlica, who is also on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, said the city cannot accurately gauge how much use Garbutt Park gets because of the condition of the play structure, but he feels that with the new installation, it will get much more use.


“The equipment is pretty much falling apart, and it is hard to assess what usage the park is getting right now,” Pawlica said. “But there have been a number of residents from that area repeatedly contacting us about doing something with that equipment. There are people who need to use that park, and once we install the equipment, I think we will see a lot of usage.”


Council also approved holding a public hearing at the March 23 meeting regarding Department of Natural Resources grants.


The grants would be used to add permanent walking paths and install new play structures at Martin Road Park and Harding Park, as both parks have had play structures removed in recent years because they were unsafe. However, the structures have not been replaced.


“Last year, we submitted two DNR grants to the trust fund grant program and found out late last year we were, unfortunately, unsuccessful,” Parks and Recreation Director Jill Manchik said. “To increase our chances of success, we are applying to two programs this year. We want to provide accessibility to the parks’ amenities as well as replace the play structures we removed.”


As city officials look to make park improvements, Mayor Dave Coulter said it has been tough to find the funds to do the projects, but Garbutt Park was one the city wanted to address sooner rather than later.


“All the parks really do need some kind of improvement, and (Garbutt Park) was definitely a glaring view at what is needed,” he said.

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