A big addition that Berkley is looking to make to Oxford/Merchants Park is a splash pad. Other new elements include a walking path, a restroom facility, a playscape, new lighting, benches and picnic tables.

A big addition that Berkley is looking to make to Oxford/Merchants Park is a splash pad. Other new elements include a walking path, a restroom facility, a playscape, new lighting, benches and picnic tables.

Photo provided by Theresa McArleton


Oxford/Merchants Park upgrades move closer to reality

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 24, 2019

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BERKLEY — The city of Berkley took another step in its development of Oxford/Merchants Park with the approval of an agreement for engineering services for future development.

At its Sept. 16 meeting, the City Council approved an agreement with Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. to perform engineering services for park development at a cost not to exceed $59,499.98.

HRC will assist with the engineering aspects of the park elements. The firm also will work with Berkley to develop the bid contract for those components.

Earlier this year, Berkley received a $180,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the United States Department of the Interior’s National Park Service. The city, which will match the grant, will put the money toward a splash pad, a walking path and a restroom facility.

With the passing of this agreement, the Parks and Recreation Department and its director, Theresa McArleton, are hoping to start the project in June 2020 and complete those components by that September.

The biggest and most-talked-about addition to Oxford/Merchants Park has been the 1,600-square-foot splash pad. McArleton said they know people are anxious to see it, because they’ve been talking about getting one for the last five years and have been taking summer camp kids to one in Farmington Hills in the meantime.

“We certainly know that the need is there, but we want to make sure we’re also doing everything correctly in terms of making sure that all of the engineering and everything is on point,” she said.

In addition to the splash pad, walkway and restrooms, McArleton said the city also will be removing the basketball court and adding “some lighting, benches and picnic tables, and the new playscape as part of the capital items.”

Located between Oxford and Cambridge roads, the space is composed of Merchants Park and 3 acres of the former Oxford Elementary that was acquired by Berkley in 2014 from the school district. Since then, the city has been planning to develop the 6.7 acres of land into an upgraded park area.

Planning continued in 2016 when the city hired Native Edge LLC, then known as Landon Landscape Architecture, to develop designs for the site. Heading into year six, the park’s makeover looks to be near completion.

“We’re super excited to get the project started,” McArleton said.

Adrianna Melchior, head of the architectural department and an associate with HRC, said the vision for the park will be “hugely transformative” for the area and the neighboring residents.

“It’s just going to be very exciting for the people who live in the community and are able to take advantage of it,” she said.

On the topic of the splash pad, Melchior said they wanted to go with a design that was simple and multifunctional and that would be useful in the long term.

“It’s going to be a huge draw for the park, so I think that’s a very exciting thing,” she said. “It’s also going to improve access to the park and increase traffic. Not in terms of, you know, just vehicle traffic, but people walking to the park, people coming from the nearby areas to take advantage of the great space there.”

Other potential additions to the park space are pavilions, more parking and an expansion to the walking path, but those aren’t expected to be done next year.

“Eventually, once the rest of the park gets developed, it’s going to be really a showplace to the community,” Melchior said.

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