St. Clair Shores is applying for a Recreation Passport Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for Brys Park to make improvements to the playground and bathroom.

St. Clair Shores is applying for a Recreation Passport Grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for Brys Park to make improvements to the playground and bathroom.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske


St. Clair Shores seeks to improve Brys Park with grant

Playground equipment, bathrooms would be upgraded

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 26, 2018

 The slide at the park is damaged and in need of repair.

The slide at the park is damaged and in need of repair.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores is looking to improve its second-largest community park with a Recreation Passport Grant to help pay for new bathroom and playground facilities. 

Parks Supervisor Tom Mehl said that with the disc golf course, soccer and baseball fields, and the Statler-Maloof Dog Park, Brys Park is a good location to seek a grant to improve its facilities, bringing the bathrooms into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, as well as improving the playground with ADA-compliant fixtures.

The city is in the process of renewing its parks and recreation five-year master plan, so in order to apply for the Recreation Passport Grant, it needed to update its 10-year capital improvement plan to include the playground and bathroom improvements. 

During a public hearing March 19, resident Duane Michno said that replacing playground equipment is something the city needs to do.

“A lot of the equipment in these parks is substandard. I think it’s a necessary improvement for the kids in our city,” he said. 

City Council began investigating the replacement of much of the playground equipment throughout the city. Because of the ADA compliance changes necessary at Brys Park, administrators felt that it would be most likely to be awarded grant money.

The current playground is 4,400 square feet and has a single slide and eight swings. The equipment is upwards of 20 years old. None of the equipment offers anything to meet the needs of children with disabilities. The slide is currently damaged, and the swing set has rusted joints and bolts, weathered seats, and peeling paint on the support posts.

The restrooms are more than 40 years old and do not meet ADA requirements either. In addition, there are no benches near the playground, and the park also needs paved paths to provide ADA access to the bathroom facilities as well as new, energy-efficient LED lights.

According to the proposed grant application, the city wants to install a playground with diverse play elements for children ages 2-12. A play structure with 10-20 play elements — including rope climbing features, a slide, raised walking pedestals, spring toys and new swings that meet ADA requirements — would be installed, as would a compliant Fibar engineered wood fiber surface that would be brought up to directly border the walking path.

The bathroom renovations, as proposed, would include new bathroom doors, a new storage room door, new ADA-compliant entry sidewalks to the west and east sides of the building, new flooring and toilet partitions, new sinks, toilets, mirrors, hand dryers, and LED lighting inside and out.

The total cost of the project is expected to be around $110,789, with the city’s matching contribution of $31,450.

Mehl said that the grant application has to be submitted by April 1.

Councilwoman Candice Rusie suggested using a different material other than mulch for the surface under the playground, as mulch isn’t always easy to push a wheelchair or stroller over, but Mehl said that the Fibar surface does meet ADA standards and a different surface could drive up the project costs.

“According to the playground people, they can get across that surface,” he said. “It packs down enough.”

City Council unanimously approved the update to the capital improvement plan and the grant request at the March 19 council meeting.

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