Eastpointe secures funding, moves forward with Kennedy Park splash pad

Eastpointe secures funding, moves forward with Kennedy Park splash pad

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Eastpointe secures funding, moves forward with Kennedy Park splash pad

By: Brian Wells | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 2, 2024


EASTPOINTE — The city of Eastpointe is working to provide residents with another way to enjoy summer fun.

At the March 19 meeting of Eastpointe’s City Council, council members voted unanimously to accept additional funding from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to go toward the city’s new splash pad planned for Kennedy Park.

Ian McCain, Eastpointe’s economic development manager, said residents have been asking for something to replace the Kennedy Park pool and Eastpointe High School pool.

“Due to budget cuts and legacy maintenance costs, the city lost both Kennedy Pool and the East Detroit/Eastpointe High School pool in the 2010s,” he said in an email. “Residents have shared their desire for reviving both the high school pool and installing a splash pad to replace Kennedy Pool.”

The splash pad will add to the quality of life in the community, he said.

“As a landlocked community, the Kennedy Park Splash Pad will bring renewed recreational and social opportunities, enhancing the overall quality of life for residents and visitors in our family town,” McCain added.

In August 2023, the Eastpointe Community Schools district passed a bond and made plans to update the pool and reopen it with money provided from the bond. The pool has been closed since 2020 due to failed mechanical pump equipment, school officials previously told The Eastsider.

Also in August 2023, the city had applied for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Community Center Grant Funding in the amount of $2.5 million for the project, but was awarded only $1.5 million. However, in addition to the amount received from the grant, the Recreational Authority of Roseville and Eastpointe had previously committed $300,000 toward the project.

Anthony Lipinski, executive director for RARE, said he feels the splash pad will be a positive thing for the area.

“The installation of a splash pad at Kennedy Park will fulfill an item often indicated as a need in our area, such as a water-featured play area,” he said. “The addition of a splash pad to Kennedy Park will provide new outdoor recreation for families to enjoy during the summer. … Overall, it will be a positive feature for the residents.”

Earlier this month, engineering firm Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick Inc. submitted an estimate for $2,348,730 to complete the project, which included the installation of the splash pad itself, a restroom facility that would also house the control room for the splash pad, water service, sanitary sewer and electrical connections, the concrete base for the splash pad and a walkway around it, fencing, picnic tables and benches, and several other small structures.

According to Council member Cardi DeMonaco Jr., who was the only one to speak on the matter at the meeting, after the grant, funding from RARE and the amount the city has budgeted toward the project, the city is still almost $49,000 under budget for the project.

McCain said the city will also be pursuing a grant through the Department of Natural Resources to provide the rest of the funding for the project.

State Sen. Veronica Klinefelt, who has been working to help the city secure funding, said bringing the splash pad to Kennedy Park is important for kids in the community.

“This is so important for kids in Eastpointe because they have lost so much over the years,” she said in an email. “They lost a pool and several playgrounds where schools used to be. A lot of homes in Eastpointe don’t have air conditioners, so a water feature would be perfect.”

A schedule created by the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity for the grant states that the project needs to be bid on and awarded to a contractor no later than Dec. 31, 2024, and construction must be completed by Oct. 31, 2026.

Given the schedule, McCain said they hope to break ground later this year. Roseville is also in the process of adding a splash pad, and McCain said the two cities have been working together to coordinate features of each park through RARE.