SEMCOG awards funding to Ferndale for big sidewalk upgrades to parks

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published January 9, 2024

 The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments awarded Ferndale $226,880 to help modernize the sidewalks serving the city’s parks.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments awarded Ferndale $226,880 to help modernize the sidewalks serving the city’s parks.

File photo by Deb Jacques


FERNDALE — The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments recently announced that it will award more than $2 million in funding for projects across five cities, including Ferndale.

SEMCOG will be awarding $2,282,690 for five projects that will be conducted in fiscal year 2025. The cities include Clinton Township, Milan, East China Township, Superior Township and Ferndale.

Ferndale will receive $226,880 from SEMCOG, which will go toward sidewalk modernization in the city’s parks.

“The idea is for us to obtain the extra funding we needed to make accessibility improvements in our major parks,” City Manager Joe Gacioch said. “The accessibility improvements we’re really looking at are making better, key connections between our park amenities and the places where people come from, parking lots, sidewalks, points of entry.”

Gacioch stated that the engineering and design of the sidewalks will happen this year, and construction most likely will be in 2025.

“Those trail networks are quite expensive, especially these days,” he said. “What we ended up doing is applying for (Transportation Alternatives Program) funds, which are traditionally used for multimodal roadway improvements, and we made the case that, you know, it could be applicable to pedestrian pathways, as well as our parks and, fortunately enough, SEMCOG agreed.”

All the parks will be on the table to receive sidewalk and accessibility improvements, according to the city manager, but the first two parks that are being looked at are Wilson and Martin Road parks, as both already will be undergoing major reconstruction projects in the spring.

Brian Pawlik, a planner in transportation modeling and mobility at SEMCOG, stated that a lot of the projects that were awarded this time around happened to be shared-use path and sidewalk modernization projects.

“It’s giving love to communities that have historically had sidewalks or shared-use paths within their region,” he said. “So, you know, providing equity amongst communities within the region and you’re rebuilding what’s there and making sure that it meets the new design criteria or specifications in order to make it modern and most useful to a variety of users.”

For Ferndale’s project, Pawlik said the amount of money awarded to the city was 80% of the estimated engineering costs.

“From the Ferndale perspective, they were looking to target our sidewalk modernization funds. So we’ve worked with them to make the project more transportation focused,” he said. “So, you know, getting to the parks as opposed to, like, the sidewalks and shared-use paths within the parks. … So providing better access from residential areas to these parks and the surrounding areas.