(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 3, 2017)
Pleasant Ridge, MI – Gainsboro Park in Pleasant Ridge is looking glorious after residents invested in a ten-year million dollar parks bond to improve the stretch of land adjacent to the railroad tracks.
Oakland County Times (then oc115) last checked on this project last July after some playground equipment had been installed and the community was discussing what should come next. And a year has made quite the difference.
“Starting at the north end of the park, the City bought and removed the last house on Kensington to connect the dog park that extends from Indiana to the railroad tracks adjacent to 696 with the rest of Gainsboro Park that extends from Kensington down to Sylvan. We were able to create a new entrance to the dog park, a new parking area, and we moved the community garden to the area north of Kensington.
“Continuing south, a new pathway system extends throughout the park. Previously, there was no continuous pathway system. Residents and visitors to the park can now enjoy a nearly ½ mile long continuous pathway system that extends from the dog park all the way to Sylvan.
“In the heart of the park area, generally extending from Devonshire south to Amherst, we have many new elements. For the kids, we have a playground with all new 2-5 year old and 5-12 year old equipment, a rock hill/bridge element that separates the two playgrounds, a train viewing area for kids to watch the trains go by (a very popular activity). We created a new sunken patio area with café tables and chairs where parents or other users of the park can hang out. The shelter building was refurbished. The tennis courts and basketball court have been resurfaced with new nets.
“A big part of the project was closing down Gainsboro Street between Wellesley and Maywood, turning three streets into dead ends at the park. The old street was narrowed and incorporated as part of the pathway system through the park. This change enlarged the park by taking a street and turning it into park land. The change has been notable, and there are now many more people who are using the park every day.
“Continuing to the south, the new pathway system extends all the way down to Sylvan. One of the remaining items to be completed is the resurfacing of the baseball diamond, which is planned to be completed this year.”
The Community Garden is still starting to take root, with several families tending to plots that have pepper, tomato, lettuce, strawberries and more. According to Breuckman, “It is a self-funding use of the park, and so the initial members of the garden must sign up for a three-year commitment. The cost to do so covers the new metal planting containers and some of the costs for running water service to the garden and the new fencing. After the initial three year period, new members of the community garden will be able to sign up for one-year terms. Anyone interested in reserving a plot in the garden can contact Scott Pietrzak at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the recreation department at 248-541-2902.”
The benefits of the park are being enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages. “The revitalized park has succeeded in attracting more and more residents to the park every day,” Breuckman said. “Families are drawn to the park for the playgrounds, adults of all ages walk the park every day, often with their dogs. On weekends there have been informal “dads vs. kids” dart gun battles in the park. All of this is helping build an even stronger sense of community as people meet and gather in the park. It is also helping our property values, as nearly all of the new real estate listings include photos of the new park.”
Learn more about the City of Pleasant Ridge, including their Parks and Recreation programs at http://www.cityofpleasantridge.org/.