The aquadome is a feature that creates an umbrella of water for children to play in or under. It is one of the new features being purchased for the splash pad at Veterans Memorial Park.

The aquadome is a feature that creates an umbrella of water for children to play in or under. It is one of the new features being purchased for the splash pad at Veterans Memorial Park.

Photo provided by St. Clair Shores


Summertime brings more fun, improvement to the parks in St. Clair Shores

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 28, 2021

 A fish that gently sprays water from its mouth and rotates is meant to be a feature ideal for younger children.

A fish that gently sprays water from its mouth and rotates is meant to be a feature ideal for younger children.

Photo provided by St. Clair Shores

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — At 20 years old, the splash pad at Veterans Memorial Park is still something enjoyed by children of all ages, but it’s showing its age, according to parks and recreation officials.

“Kids still love it. I think it’s still one of the most-used amenities,” said Councilwoman Candice Rusie at the May 3 City Council meeting. “When you compare it, though, to the newer ones, it’s not as bright — it’s not as sculptural.

“You can tell ours needed some love.”

Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman confirmed that the splash pad had not had any major upgrades in more than 20 years, and even though some minor repairs had been made, they had the effect of making some of the features unable to function.

The playground committee, which includes Rusie, looked at newer splash pads in the area in 2019, deciding which features would make the most sense to add to St. Clair Shores. The way the pad was constructed allows for easy swapping of spray features, and the company chosen for the work, Vortex Aquatic Structures, said it would only take three days to install new features.

For $42,490, the splash pad will get a fish that gently sprays water from its mouth and rotates, a feature ideal for children 6 years and younger; a boat anchor that sprays water from multiple points and allows users to switch which point sprays with the touch of a button, ideal for all ages; a twinsplash ideal for children 5 years and older that fills a bucket, which then tips over and creates a wave that splashes nearby users; and an aquadome suitable for all ages that creates an umbrella of water, under which children can play or splash through.

“We can put some new life into our existing splash pad — basically make it like a new splash pad,” Rusie said.

She said they tried to pick features that would add visual appeal while also bringing new excitement to the users of the splash pad.

“The interactivity is something that I think our splash pad was missing and the newer splash pads had, and the kids really seemed to embrace,” she said. “We’re really updating it, I think, in terms of increasing the playability and enjoyment of something I think they already enjoyed, but I think we’re taking it up a notch.”

Bowman said he would be able to work with the company to have the pieces installed without interfering with any scheduled events, and he expected installation to be completed in June.

Mayor Kip Walby said that 2021 is shaping up to be a “wonderful year for the parks and recreation” department, he said, with Council approving “putting a tremendous amount of money into the parks,” which he said had been needed.

At the May 3 meeting, City Council also approved the reconstruction of the south main parking lot at Kyte Monroe Memorial Park, 32701 Harper Ave., and the parking lot and walking path at Brys Park, 20700 Brys St. Al’s Asphalt was the low bidder on both projects at a cost of $507,132 and $537,974, respectively, plus a 10% contingency.

Community Development and Inspection Director Chris Rayes said they were hoping to get the work done earlier in the year to avoid having to lay asphalt in the colder fall months, but Walby said he was concerned about interfering with the baseball and softball seasons.

Rayes said the work would take at least a month with removal of the old asphalt and grading of the surface. He said the latest he would want to have the work begin is the end of August to avoid cold weather.

“The parking lot needs it, (but) we’re going to get complaints,” Walby said. “The fact is, you’ve got to do it sooner or later. We don’t want to be doing this thing in late fall and end up with a bad job.”

The Brys Park parking lot was paved in the 1980s, Rayes said, and “we’ve been talking about this walking path for at least 20 years.”

He said portions of the disc golf course at Brys Park may still be available for use while construction is ongoing.

“This is much needed,” Rusie said. “Once we get the work done with the playground and the baseball (diamond improvements), it’s definitely going to be used. We need to do this.”

City Council also approved new fencing along the northern side of Blossom Heath Park from the new Beach House east to the lagoon, but this time, members decided to go with the third-lowest bidder, a business based in St. Clair Shores, instead of the low bidder, thereby paying an additional $6,000.

“Using somebody local, you get that five grand back in taxes,” said Councilman Peter Accica, who made the motion to use Tom’s Fence Company of St. Clair Shores instead of Michigan Fence Outlet of New Haven. “Shop local, buy local.”

Councilman Dave Rubello supported the motion. Michigan Fence Outlet bid $19,737 for a 4-foot tall industrial grade aluminum fence, and Tom’s Fence Company bid $25,905.78. The motion passed 4-3, with Walby, Councilman Chris Vitale and Rusie opposed.

“I did not vote for it. It was too much. I understand local, but I couldn’t vote for the $6,000 (increase in price),” Walby said.

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