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 A rendering by Nowak & Fraus Engineers shows the proposed development of the new Normandy Oaks Park in Royal Oak.

A rendering by Nowak & Fraus Engineers shows the proposed development of the new Normandy Oaks Park in Royal Oak.

Photo provided by the city of Royal Oak

Normandy Oaks construction delayed due to wet conditions

Grant of $230,000 to help with green infrastructure

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 1, 2019


ROYAL OAK — Due to an especially soggy spring, construction that was initially slated for April on Normandy Oaks Park has not yet begun.

Royal Oak Department of Public Service and Recreation Director Greg Rassel said the city hopes to break ground on the project next spring or early summer, with a ribbon cutting ideally to take place at this time next year.

Rassel said the city opted to delay construction to let the ground dry out instead of incurring additional costs to force the start of the project.

On June 18, the city announced that it was the recipient of an inaugural National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund Grant. The $228,000 grant is to help to reduce stormwater runoff and enhance public space at Normandy Oaks Park.

“This important funding allows us to install all green stormwater infrastructure features at Normandy Oaks in this year’s development, rather than a few now and a few in the future,” Royal Oak Energy and Sustainability Manager Julie Lyons Bricker said in a prepared statement. “This is another great opportunity for Royal Oak to engage in sustainability programs and initiatives that benefit the economy, the environment and our quality of life.”

The grant will help Royal Oak install stormwater management features like bioswales and a detention pond and increase community-building and educational activities by partnering with the Clinton River Watershed Council.

Rassel said phase one of the project will include a sled hill, a pavilion with restrooms, a parking lot, a splash pad, a playground and the start of the nature trail, as well as one of the soccer fields. Phase two projects will follow shortly behind, and some will occur concurrently.

“The grant will help us prepare another area for soccer fields and do some rain gardens, which will free out some additional funding that hasn’t been determined what it would go to yet,” he said.

Next year, part of phase two  funded by Oakland County Parks and Recreation will also begin at Normandy Oaks Park. The Oakland County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $1.1 million to help build the park as part of a three-year deal.

The deal includes $521,250 to finish the trail system, $276,320 for a nature area and $213,080 for a pedestrian bridge connecting Normandy Oaks Park to Elks Park.

The park will reside on the former Normandy Oaks Golf Course site. In 2014, Royal Oak shuttered the 50-acre golf course and voters approved the sale of a 10-acre parcel to fund the development of the 40-acre park. Robertson Brothers Properties purchased the 10 acres of land to develop townhouses and single-family homes.

City Manager Don Johnson said the city received approximately $3.8 million gross on the sale and earmarked $3 million for the park and the rest for improvements at the Royal Oak Golf Course, 3417 Don Soper Drive.

Rassel said the wetter-than-usual conditions also contributed to the delay of improvements at Royal Oak Golf Course. Once the ground is drier, he said, the city plans to implement parking lot and maintenance area repairs, as well as the capping and installation of a cart path.