The Memorial Park concession stand and locker room building in Eastpointe will be refurbished in two phases to repair aspects of the  structure that have fallen into disrepair.

The Memorial Park concession stand and locker room building in Eastpointe will be refurbished in two phases to repair aspects of the structure that have fallen into disrepair.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Eastpointe council OKs improvements to Memorial Park

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 2, 2019

 The concession area, the roof and the bathrooms are among the aspects of the  Memorial Park building that the city of  Eastpointe will repair  after approving a  project March 26.

The concession area, the roof and the bathrooms are among the aspects of the Memorial Park building that the city of Eastpointe will repair after approving a project March 26.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council has approved the beginning of restoration and repair efforts on the concession stand and locker room building at Memorial Park, near 10 Mile Road and Flower Avenue.

The City Council unanimously approved phase one of a two-phase project to repair the aging structure at its meeting March 26. It was a project that many within the city had been wanting for years, but Eastpointe officials couldn’t take action due to financial constraints.

A turning point was the 2018 sale of the community center used by both Eastpointe and Roseville that was located at 16435 Eight Mile Road.

“We’ve been trying to get this thing repaired for almost 35 years. … We just didn’t have the money,” said Eastpointe Mayor Suzanne Pixley. “We sold the community center, and when we did, both Eastpointe and Roseville got about $200,000. That made this project finally possible.”

The structure contains a concession stand, locker rooms and the only permanent bathrooms in the park. It is used primarily for local sporting events, including those hosted by Roseville High School, since it doesn’t have a football field of its own. 

“The park currently hosts football, baseball and softball games,” said Assistant City Manager Randy Altimus. “There is a dog park north of the fields. There are pavilions that get rented out for events, and it functions as a general park. There are basketball courts as well, but the hoops are damaged and would need to be replaced before they can be used again.”

Altimus explained that the work on the structure will be broken down into two phases. The first was approved by the City Council, while the second will need to be approved at a later date.

“The first phase will be putting in all the work on the exterior of the building,” he explained. “This will mean putting in more efficient windows, replacing doors and door frames, fixing the roof and replacing concrete that is damaged. Because of the condition of the concession stand, we need to bring it up to the proper health codes, because that was something that just couldn’t wait.”

While the first phase will focus primarily on the exterior of the structure, the second will focus mostly on interior improvements.

“Phase two would be going through the insides of the restrooms and the south side of the building, which has two rooms that aren’t efficient the way they were originally built,” Altimus said. “We are combining those two rooms for storage. We also want to go through and replace wiring, plumbing and gas lines. … There are separate rooms for the locker rooms. Over the years, the showers were removed, and we will be fixing up them as well, but without the showers.”

Among those who use the park is the Tigercats football team, an Eastern Suburban Football League team. Mike Roth, coach and president of Tigercats, has long been pushing for the city to improve Memorial Park.

“My wife and me are lifetime residents. I played Tigercats, my brother played Tigercats, my kids play Tigercats. The city let the field get bad. It wasn’t entirely their fault; money was crunching everybody and I understand it wasn’t easy, but now the time has come when we can fix up the park and get it generating revenue. We can host tournaments there and start renting it out to other teams and other events.”

He said conditions at the park were making it all but unusable and were preventing other teams from using the field, depriving the community of local events at the location and the revenue that the events would bring.

“The field itself isn’t so bad, but the drainage needs to be fixed because it can turn into a mud pit. The high school and our team use it now, and it doesn’t make it into October before it gets all torn up. The locker rooms got spruced up last year, but even those need new paint and benches. The concession stand can’t pass a health inspection. The roof is barely stopping water.”

Altimus said the project is projected to cost $230,000 for both phases, with about $180,000 being the cost for phase one. The City Council hoped phase one would be finished by the end of summer — before football season begins — but Altiums said it is unlikely to happen.

“Finishing it by the end of the summer is probably optimistic,” he said. “Our hope is to get a bid for the project by May. It will probably be early fall when phase one is finished. The weather will be a major factor in determining how long work will take. The City Council hasn’t technically given us the go-ahead on phase two. We’ll have to discuss the second phase with the City Council more before we nail down when it can start and how long it will take.”

Roth voiced his appreciation to the city for approving the project.

“We appreciate so much that the city is doing this,” he said. “I have been pushing for this for the last several years. This is a staple point of the community, and we want to bring some tradition back into this town.”

City officials said the improvements will greatly benefit the community and that this work had to be done sooner rather than later.

“You finally are going to have a building that’s going to be more attractive, the concession stand will be able to be utilized the way it’s supposed to, and it will make the appearance of the complex much better,” Altimus said. “We’re always caretakers and trying to make sure our infrastructure is sound. This is one of the last buildings in our big parks that need this kind of attention. If we don’t do work on it now, it could become necessary to tear it down and build something entirely new, which is, of course, far more expensive.”

“I think it’s exciting that we’re making the building better,” added Pixley. “It will attract more people to the community, and it will be a great improvement for groups like the schools or the Tigercats who already use the park.”

Call Staff Writer Brendan Losinski at (586) 498-1068.

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