Ferndale reduces scopes for Wanda, Geary park projects

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 27, 2021


FERNDALE — Park improvements at Wanda and Geary parks will be scaled back as they move forward later this year.

The City Council received a presentation about the park improvements at its Feb. 8 meeting, where Parks and Recreation Director LaReina Wheeler detailed how both projects will be reduced in scale.

Wanda Park currently lacks any paths. The project was scheduled to significantly increase accessible walkways through the park. With the updated scope, a planned walkway in the eastern portion of the park was reduced to one path that leads to a new pavilion. The original scope of the park had 1,180 linear feet of new paths; the reduced one contains 450 linear feet.

The new pavilion and site amenities — such as benches, a drinking fountain with a water filler station, trash and recycling bins, bike racks, and grills  — will still be a part of the park.

“All the amenities will remain the same, which include the benches, the drinking fountain with a water filler station. We already had that planned prior to COVID, but I’m glad we did because of sanitary reasons as well as environmental reasons,” Wheeler said.

Geary Park’s improvements originally had a pathway leading from Lewiston Avenue that ran south to Earle Boulevard, but this now has been reduced.

“The path will continue along Earle Boulevard and go up to the inline skate rink,” Wheeler said. “We did connect the restrooms, so there is a formal (Americans with Disabilities Act) path connecting the restrooms from the pathway and extending the walking path all the way down to Pinecrest.”

The project still will include a fitness staton, as its installation is required as part of grant funding that Ferndale is receiving. It will be located near Central Street.

“What we will not be doing in this scope is the path along the skate park,” Wheeler said. “That is no longer the plan in this phase, but we did include it as a bid alternate.”

If the budget allows, the city csn put the path back in the project.

The walkways in the park originally had a scope of 1,780 linear feet, but it was reduced to 1,420 linear feet. Some site amenities were reduced, as the park will receive only one bench compared to four, and two each of trash and recycle bins compared to four.

Both projects also saw reductions in scope of site demolition, site preparation, mobilization and site prep to reduce costs.

With the scope reductions, Wanda Park’s estimated cost is $176,000. The city will receive $74,000 in grant funding for the project, including $41,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, $25,000 from America In Bloom and $8,000 from the American Academy of Dermatology. This brings the cost, which will be paid from the park bond, to $102,000.

The estimated cost for Geary Park’s improvements is now $210,000. Ferndale also will receive grant funding for this project. The MDNR is funding $81,000, $25,000 will come from America In Bloom and $3,000 comes from a DTE Energy tree grant. With a grant funding totaling $109,000, the impact to the park bond will be $101,000.

“We believe that we were able to successfully reduce the scope of the project without sacrificing the design,” Wheeler said.

Improvements at Wanda and Geary were supposed to begin in March 2020, but were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the unforeseen economic impacts, council decided to delay the projects at that time.

The new timeline aims for council to approve a bid recommendation for the projects in late March or early April. The start of the improvements would commence in late April with the hope they can be completed by September.

“I think all of council, back in March … were very disappointed that we had to take this off the table ... because of the pandemic and the uncertainty of where the pandemic was going to hit the city’s budget and the impact,” Mayor Melanie Piana said.

Piana added that when the project almost began last March, it also had three avenues of funding to pay for the original scopes of work. These streams were the grants, park bond money, and the city was going to supplement the project with general fund dollars.

“The difference here is we only really have two funding streams, which is grants and park bond money,” she said. “We’ve taken some stressors off of our general fund balance in order to make these projects work and not lose and leave any money on the table by having these grants go away and we don’t leverage the money at all.”