Dwight Lydell Park Renovation Summer 2020 Update
Dwight Lydell Park Renovation Work Begins
PROGRESS IN DWIGHT LYDELL PARK RENOVATION
The massive renovation of Dwight Lydell Park that began in August is taking shape. More than a dozen trees in their fall colors have been planted. In all, the Kent County 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 the heart of the project which is expected to be finished in November.
The bridge across Mill Creek at the Comstock Park Branch Library that connects the Library and the Park has been replaced by a new steel, clear-span bridge.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. Work has started on the boardwalk that will start at the parking lot at the northwest end of the Park and extend across the new wetlands, floodplain, and Mill Creek and finally connect with Lamoreaux Avenue. People will be able to fish from the planned overlook on the boardwalk above the Creek.
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. “The Parks Department web site notes that, “In order to remove the walls and create the natural floodplain, the trees and soil behind the walls must be excavated to restore the Creek channel. Tree trunks, branches, and root wads that are removed will be used in the project to help protect the Creek bank once the walls are removed. KCPD will relocate as many trees as possible, Mulligan said. The web site says addressing wet, low areas and shaping the ground 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.
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.