Metroparks seeking public input on proposed grant projects at Stony Creek

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 24, 2021

 The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority is seeking public input on proposed projects at Stony Creek Metropark. An online survey, pictured, will be available through Feb. 26 at metroparks.com/DNRgrants.

The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority is seeking public input on proposed projects at Stony Creek Metropark. An online survey, pictured, will be available through Feb. 26 at metroparks.com/DNRgrants.

Screenshot from metroparks.com

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority is seeking public input on proposed projects at Stony Creek Metropark that are being submitted to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Recreation Grants program.

Public support and input will help shape the final design of park improvements and make for a stronger application, so the authority wants to hear from the local community.

Stony Creek Metropark extends across Oakland and Macomb counties with 4,435 acres used for year-round recreation and education. The project at Stony Creek Metropark would improve the accessibility of the Reflection Nature Trail and associated amenities using universal design principles, including:

• Replacement of three bridges.

• Replacement of the existing dock with a shoreline viewing platform.

• Accessible push-button doors at the Nature Center main entrance.

• Relocation of benches to accessible areas. Various landscaping features including new native plantings and accessible prairie development.

• Modification to existing trail for accessible slopes and cross-slopes.

The authority’s Engineering Department is in the process of developing cost estimates for each of the three projects that the authority is pursuing grant money for this year — there are proposed projects at Lake Erie Metropark and Delhi Metropark, which is near Ann Arbor, in addition to the Stony Creek project. The authority will have those ready in time for a virtual public hearing, which will take place at 9 a.m. March 11, immediately preceding the authority’s Board of Commissioners meeting

Jennifer Jaworski, the chief of interpretive services at Huron-Clinton Metroparks, said the grant projects at Stony Creek will greatly improve the park and its natural qualities.

“The improvements highlighted in the grant will add accessibility to this trail itself and to the educational interpretive programming. Visitors will be able to experience native prairie plants up close right along the accessible trail. When visitors attend an educational interpretive program, the proposed bridge and dock designs will enhance hands-on experiential learning, such as water quality exploration,” said Jaworski.

The pedestrian bridges proposed for replacement are on the Reflection Trail, part of the nature trail system, in the Stony Creek project. The project plans have been uploaded to the authority’s website, www.metroparks.com/dnrgrants, and show the locations of the bridges.

The authority won’t find out whether it has been awarded the grant until December 2021 and any construction likely wouldn’t begin until 2023.

“We are so excited about this and are hopeful to be a recipient,” said Jaworski.

The grant applications are due April 1. The authority will learn whether it was recommended for funding by December 2021, and would expect to receive a project agreement by mid-2022. From the date of the project agreement, the authority would have two years to complete the project.

Jaworski said it will allow visitors to get even more out of the park.

“It will improve the park because the trail will become accessible and therefore more people can experience the sights, sounds and smells of nature along Stony Creek,” said Jaworski.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant programs solicit applications every year.

The public can review the projects, including conceptual plans, through the Metroparks website. Metroparks staff are offering multiple opportunities for the public to provide feedback.

Nina Kelly, the chief of planning and development for the Metroparks, said the Metroparks are always welcoming of residents’ feedback.

“We are always open to feedback from the community, whether it be something that would fit into this project or another in the future,” said Kelly.

Feedback can be given through an online survey. Lastly, there will be a virtual public hearing on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 9 a.m. prior to the Board of Commissioners meeting.

The online survey will be available through Feb. 26, and results will be compiled and shared during the hearing.

“If folks are not able to join us for one of the meetings we’re holding (which took place prior to press time), they can still submit feedback via the online survey or via email to our system planner, Jason Bibby, at jason.bibby@metroparks.com. The public is also welcomed to attend and submit comment at the hearing that will be held virtually on March 11 at 9 a.m.,” said Kelly.

For more information, project descriptions, renderings, as well as links to the online surveys for each project, visit www.metroparks.com/DNRgrants. 

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