DWIGHT LYDELL PARK
JANUARY 2021 CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Dwight Lydell Park remains closed while work on the massive renovation that began last August continues. Construction that was expected to be completed in 2020 was delayed by wet weather last Fall. The project is now expected to be finished in June 2021. The Kent County Parks Department is currently taking reservations for the summer. Available dates start in July because the park will still be closed in May and June. When the park opens use will be limited to paved paths, shelters, boardwalks, and the play area so lawn areas have time to mature.
Currently, work is being done to complete the boardwalk that starts at the parking lot at the northwest end of the park and extends across the new wetlands, floodplain, and Mill Creek, and finally connects with Lamoreaux Avenue. People will be able to fish from the overlook on the boardwalk above the creek.
Once weather allows, the paved paths will be installed, final site grading and restoration will be completed, and the new play area will be installed. The ground must be dry to work on these projects, so the schedule will depend on the weather this spring. The plan is to begin finishing these final items in May and complete them in June.
In all, the Parks Department plans to plant around 250 trees as well as some 650 shrub saplings to aid in the flood plain restoration that will return Mill Creek to its natural state. That is at the heart of the project.
Besides plantings, the bridge across Mill Creek at the Comstock Park Branch Library that connects the library and the park has been replaced by a new clear-span bridge. The Comstock Park Downtown Development Authority in March voted to contribute $150,000 toward the bridge. That freed up money in the Park Department’s budget for new playground equipment which was not in the original budget. The total cost of the project is more than $1.8 million.
Originally the existing ponds were to be combined into one large pond, but it was determined that doing that would not leave enough room for a big enough floodplain and wetland area to address drainage and flooding issues, which is the main purpose of the project.
The Parks Department made it a focus to keep walking paths at the Park, said Brian Mulligan, Landscape Architect for Kent County Parks. The path on the Lamoreaux side of the park will be moved toward the center of the park and will still loop with the path along the Leland Street side of the park. The new playground equipment will be installed closer to the path along Leland on higher ground.
The more than century-old crumbling concrete walls in the Creek that were left over from the days of the State of Michigan fishponds have been removed. To remove the walls, the trees and soil behind the walls was excavated to restore the creek channel. Tree trunks, branches, and root wads that were removed were used in the project to help protect the creek bank. Mulligan said the Parks Department tried to relocate as many trees as possible. The work should improve flooding issues during spring rains and snow melts since the creek will be more able to recede.
The County received more than a million dollars in grants from the Department of Natural Resources – a $900,000 DNR Non-Point Source Grant, and a $257,000 DNR Aquatic Habitat Grant. The County is providing matching funds.
The first phase of the renovation of the Park was done in 2017. The parking lot was torn out and reconstructed, and it now provides parking for twice as many cars. A new maintenance building was built, and the old building removed. Future plans call for a spray park near the north parking lot, but that has not been scheduled yet.
--For more information about Kent County Parks and Dwight Lydell Park go the Department’s web site: www.kentcountyparks.org and click on ‘Dwight Lydell Construction Information.’
--To read more about the history of Dwight Lydell Park go to the Comstock Park DDA’s web site Click on ‘General Information’ and then Dwight Lydell Park. http://www.comstockparkdda.org/general_information/dwight_lydell_park.php
For more information about Kent County Parks and Dwight Lydell Park click HERE.To read more about the history of Dwight Lydell Park click HERE.