Ferndale’s updates and additions to Wilson Park will include new walking paths, playground equipment, a new basketball court and parking lot improvements.

Ferndale’s updates and additions to Wilson Park will include new walking paths, playground equipment, a new basketball court and parking lot improvements.

Map provided by the city of Ferndale

Wilson Park improvements to start in spring

By: Andy Kozlowski | Woodward Talk | Published March 8, 2023


FERNDALE — Ferndale will be making some big upgrades to one of its parks starting this spring.

At its Feb. 27 meeting, the City Council received a presentation from Parks and Recreation Director LaReina Wheeler regarding the upcoming improvements at Wilson Park.

Wheeler detailed many of the additions coming to the park, including new walking paths, playground equipment, a new basketball court, parking lot improvements, a shade structure, a new pavilion, a new water fountain that can refill water bottles, new trash and recycling bins, new park benches and accessible picnic tables, and landscaping improvements throughout the park.

“There were some things that weren’t included in that base improvement scope that I just mentioned, because of the funding,” she said. “However, as we plan to go out to bid for this, which will be very soon, we are putting alternates within our bid document. So if … our bids come lower than what we anticipate, we can add those back into the project.”

Alternate improvements the city has planned into its bid include upgrades to dog park and parking lot light poles, strolling gardens, more sidewalks and a new underdrain system.

“All the parks on the east side of the city have very poor drainage,” she said. “There’s a lot of clay soil, so when it rains, light rain or heavy rain, the ponding water would just stay there, stay sometimes over a week. So it’s a lot of poor drainage.”

The ponding water in the park, she said, limits the park’s use — especially with its play area — and renders the park amenities inoperable during or after a rain event.

“Because of the ponding water, it can also cause potential damage to our improvements that we plan on putting in there,” she said. “Last year, we had to replace the walking path through Martin Road Park because it was crumbling, and then the ponding water and the conditions at the park kind of exacerbated those paths, and it became an emergency to replace. So we want to prevent that and make sure that we have a park that can be used all the time, even after rain events.”

The total project cost without contingencies is estimated to be $611,000. The city is receiving $311,000 in grant funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Oakland County, the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation and America in Bloom. The city commitment for the grants is $141,000.

Project construction is expected to start in the spring. Mayor Melanie Piana said it’s important for every park to get upgrades because the parks support the neighborhoods. She’s really excited for Wilson to get new playground equipment and new amenities, but especially the accessible walking paths.

“The accessible walking paths (will) help not only people with disabilities, but parents with strollers, making more parts of the park accessible for people rolling their strollers, but it’s really about creating a place for parents to take their kids and hang out,” she said.