Gallagher Creek Park plans get go-ahead

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published May 15, 2018

 A former railroad bridge on the Paint Creek Trail, labeled No. 33.7, is located between Silverbell and Dutton roads.

A former railroad bridge on the Paint Creek Trail, labeled No. 33.7, is located between Silverbell and Dutton roads.

File photo by Deb Jacques

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Despite concerns about the unexpected costs connected with replacing a Paint Creek Trail bridge, township officials are going forward with plans to improve Gallagher Creek Park, on Silverbell Road.

“I think this is really good value for what this project is going to cost — which is $150,000 total — for an exceptional playground, picnic pavilion, a restroom enclosure, parking improvements, a new entrance drive and a concrete pathway,” Oakland Township Parks Director Mindy Milos-Dale said. “That is a lot for $150,000.”

But Oakland Township Trustee Frank Ferriolo questioned whether the park plans should continue.

“It is the bridge that I am concerned with ... a $200,000 differential coming to the cost of the bridge because of the cost of iron,” he said.

The cost of the bridge replacement was originally estimated at $756,200, but that estimate has been revised due to the increase in the cost of iron, reportedly by $200,000.

“If you are ready to redo the kitchen and a tree falls through the roof, you put off the kitchen,” Ferriolo said. “Gallagher Park is the kitchen, and (the bridge is) the tree that came through the roof. We should give that some consideration and maybe put off Gallagher Park for a year or two.”

Trustee John Giannangeli disagreed.

“I think it (the park) is going to get a lot of use and I think it is the right thing to do,” he said.

A project to replace a 100-year-old wooden railroad bridge on the Paint Creek Trail is planned for this fall. The pedestrian bridge is labeled No. 33.7 and is located over the Paint Creek, between Dutton and Silverbell roads.  

According to Milos-Dale, Gallagher Creek Park sits within the most densely populated area of the township. A new Silverbell Road sidewalk is planned from Adams Road, allowing visitors access to the park by foot or by bike.

The 15-acre Gallagher Creek Park is located at the headwaters of Gallagher Creek, on the north side of Silverbell, east of Adams Road. The township aims to balance the protection of the unique natural area with the addition of recreation facilities.

Park improvement costs will be funded through the township parks millage. By a 5-2 vote May 8, the Oakland Township Board of Trustees approved the project. Trustees Lana Mangiapane and Ferriolo voted no.  

“There are a lot of troubles out there now for our youth,” Mangiapane said. “There are opiates. We don’t want to make havens for our children and the teenagers to go and take drugs. I think we’ve got to look at the whole picture for the community.”

According to township officials, construction of the new Gallagher Creek Park improvements is slated to begin in July.