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.

Rendering provided by the city of Royal Oak

Oakland County commits $1M to Normandy Oaks

Three-year deal to finance trails, nature area, amenities

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 19, 2019


ROYAL OAK — After almost four years of back-and-forth discussions, both the Royal Oak City Commission and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners approved a $1.1 million contract to help build a 40-acre park on the site of the former Normandy Oaks Golf Course.

The three-year deal includes $521,250 for a trail system, $276,320 for a nature area and $213,080 for a pedestrian bridge over a retention pond.

“Oakland County will still be allowed to include their branding on signage for these features,” Royal Oak Superintendent of Recreation John Fedele said. “The city of Royal Oak will retain full ownership and control over the use of the park, and staff will schedule the soccer fields, pavilions, splash pads and other areas.”

He added that the city would also be responsible for maintaining the park, which will be partially funded by taxes paid by Robertson Brothers Properties amounting to $150,000 annually.

In 2014, the city shuttered the 50-acre golf course and voters approved the sale of 10 acres of the parcel to fund the development of the park. Robertson Brothers Properties purchased the land and developed townhouses and single-family homes.

Royal Oak City Manager Don Johnson said Normandy Oaks Golf Course was not breaking even anymore and the city wanted to invest more in its other golf course, the Royal Oak Golf Center. 

“We got about $3.8 million gross on the sale. For budget purposes, we have about $3 million for the park and the rest for the golf course,” Johnson said. “On the next agenda (March 25), we’ll have the bids for the improvements at Royal Oak Golf, as well as the bids for improvements at Normandy Oaks.”

He said the splash pad and play structure for the park are already sitting at the Department of Public Services, and that they just have to be installed.

Johnson predicted that construction on the park would begin late this spring and conclude in the fall.

“The pond has already been enlarged. It used to be just a little trap pond for the golf course, and it’s probably at least five times bigger than it was,” he said. “A lot of dirt from the construction of the housing has been moved to that site to build some hills, particularly a sled hill.”

Phase 1 will include a soccer field, a splash pad, pavilions, a sledding hill and a playground. Phase 2 will include the nature area, the paved perimeter trail, aggregate pathways, the bridge, additional parking and a second soccer field.

“The portion Oakland County parks is contributing is really enabling us to complete the master plan as originally laid out in Phase 1,” said Greg Rassel, director of the Royal Oak Department of Public Service and Recreation. 

Oakland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Dave Woodward, D-Royal Oak, said he was excited about the prospect of a county-affiliated park in the southern portion of the county.

“We’ve talked about making certain the resources of the county parks and recreation are accessible to everyone,” Woodward said. “This is a win-win by all measures.”

City Commissioner Melanie Macey said she looks forward to the pedestrian bridge.

“It will allow us to make that a beautiful, used area of the park and connect it to Elks Park, where there is a nice parking lot,” Macey said.

Woodward credited City Commissioner Kyle DuBuc with proposing the city-county partnership.

“This kind of green space in the southeastern, population-dense portion of the county is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” DuBuc said. “It’s been a long time coming and we’re dedicated to getting it right.”

The city facilitated an extensive public input process to determine what to include in the new park, including surveys and community visioning sessions.

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier said he expected Normandy Oaks to be a “jewel” among the city’s more than 50 parks.

Normandy Oaks is located at 4234 Delemere Blvd., near Normandy and Crooks roads.

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.