New details on parks plans revealed

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published February 7, 2017

File photo

Some of the amenities that Sterling Heights officials promised voters in seeking approval of a November parks and recreation millage proposal should be open to the public later this year, according to city officials.

During a Jan. 24 special Sterling Heights City Council meeting, council members heard strategic planning reports from department heads, and the status of the Recreating Recreation plan arose again. City Development Director Denice Gerstenberg offered updates on a proposed timeline that city officials have charted out.

Gerstenberg explained that the city projects expenses to total around $45 million, and while the millage will last for 20 years, all projects are expected to wrap up within a three-year period.

“These projects will provide the quality-of-life amenities Sterling Heights needs to remain vibrant in the future,” she said.

The city hired two architectural firms in November to begin planning and design work. Central to the recreation plan is a new, larger community center, and Gerstenberg said an engineer is surveying the land for that. Community center bids are supposed to come to the City Council by around February 2018, and then construction will last approximately a year, so the center could open by spring 2019, she said.

In 2017, the city will tackle the construction of recreation amenities in the vicinity of City Hall and Dodge Park. One is a spray ground, also known as a splash pad. A skate park, an enclosed senior center bocce court and a farmers market pavilion are also set to appear this year, Gerstenberg said.

She said work will take place in 2018 on a kayak and canoe livery, as well as a dog park at Delia Park. In 2019, work will wrap up with some building renovations, including the Sterling Heights Nature Center building, an athletic storage building and the current Recreation Center building, she said. Work will also occur to finish a hike and bike path from Delia Park to the Plumbrook Nature Preserve.

For each of the three years, about one-third of the city’s neighborhood parks will undergo site improvements, she said.

During the meeting, Councilman Nate Shannon asked Gerstenberg when the splash pad would open and what might it look like. She said the city is still in the process of planning it, but officials hope for the splash pad to open by this summer. However, she added that the skate park will probably not be ready to open until the fall.

“Let’s just make it first-class — that’s all that I ask,” Shannon said regarding the splash pad. “You’re going to see lots of people there on hot days, for sure.”

Councilwoman Maria Schmidt sought an explanation from Gerstenberg about news that the site of the proposed dog park was being moved from Magnolia Park to Delia Park.

“We felt that Delia Park was a better location,” Gerstenberg said. “It’s one of our major parks, and the park would be located in such a way that it would probably be less disturbing to some of the residents.”

Find out more about the Recreating Recreation plan by visiting www.sterling-heights.net/recreatingrecreation or by calling (586) 446-2489.