On Friday I, the mayor and councimembers Hookfin and Callihan walked the park with representatives from Newell Engineering to discuss the progress made on the project.
The park today was a far cry from how it was back in June, with tree saplings and weeds sprouting up all across the 10 Acre area. The park is fenced off, and the main field has been completely overhauled.
There is however, still some way to go. Most of the visible clay has been "lime treated" and since the grading issue seems to have been fixed, we are waiting on more grass to grow. There are also various spots where concrete needs to be poured to fix soem sections of sidewalk.
According to Frank Newell, bleachers were moved to "Phase Two" due to budgetary constraints. Furthermore, Councilman Hookfin and the KHS Baseball coach are eager to play on the field, so it was proposed that the bleachers from the original OW Dillon Elementary field could be moved to the North Tangi park as a temporary solution.
This would work but unfortunately the temporary bleachers would be placed at level with the sidewalks leaving an awkward slope underneath row one due to the original design of the park's seating arrangements.
While I don't think the park is ready to be used at the moment due to various cosmetic and functional hurdles that need to be crossed, the work our current contractors have done is nothing to spit at. To have something this close to completion after over a decade is satisfying to say the least
That being said, I want to make sure that the park we get is as close to the original design as possible. I know we have a new architect and contractor, but the citizens of Kentwood were marketed a magnificent park for over ten years, and to give them something different now would be dishonest. What I will be pushing for next is the removal of the ridiculous outhouse that sits in the middle of the park and a restructuring of how the middle section will be used.
Not only were the bleachers designed with roofs, but the outhouse we were given by the previous contractor was originally meant to be a two story Recreation Center. The current parking lot sits at the site of a planned splash park, with pavilions and visitor centers surrounding it.
Some people have complained that the park should not be surrounded by trees and should be more visible. The original blueprint below shows that the parking lot was to be placed next to the road making the site visible from HWY 1051.
Still, I look forward to working with Newell Engineering more and, I hope to help create an end product that brings as many aspects from the fist layout to the new one.
Below are images of the original and current park blueprints.
As always, this is Tre'Von Cooper zooming out. 😉