Bailey Park reopened to East Lansing community members on Friday, Oct. 23, after a ribbon cutting ceremony that honors the end to nearly three years of work to create a new and improved place for residents and students to enjoy.
Bailey Park is adjacent to the Liberty Hyde Bailey Center, which served as a school from 1922 to 1985, when it was purchased by the City of East Lansing. Until 2014, the school was repurposed to hold events related to schools, the City, and the Parks and Recs program. The renovated Bailey Center, which had its own ribbon-cutting in 2017, now holds 25 affordable senior-living apartments and five market-rate apartments, childcare space, and room for other community events
Bailey Center and Park, located at 300 Bailey St., are not historic landmarks, but they do reside within the Bailey Historic district.
The park project was identified as “high priority” in the 2015 Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Greenways Plan, a five-year plan to improve local facilities, and Parks, Recreation and Arts Assistant Director Wendy Wilmers-Longpre acted as project manager. The contract for the park renewal was awarded to E.T. MacKenzie Company, with costs totaling around $300,000. Funding from Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Capital Area Housing Partnership and the Bailey Community Association supported the project.
Now, five years later, the project has come to an end, providing East Lansing residents with a new park with updated amenities that include a community plaza, a path that loops around the park, a shade structure, a play structure, two gardens, benches, and picnic tables.
The City’s Communications Director, Mikell Frey, ensures that the improvements are environmentally conscious, citing the presence of native-pollinator-friendly garden beds. The park was also designed to be more inviting to human patrons as well. According to Frey, “The Bailey Park renovations increase access to the park by removing physical barriers and expanding and releveling paved walkways throughout the park.”
Frey told ELi that the presence of more greenspaces positively impacts the community and its members, and the community can expect more in the future.
“Construction has been completed on the renovation of the ball fields at Patriarche Park. The White Park Trails and Natural Features Improvement project is near completion. Re-construction of the pavilion and restrooms at Patriarche Park will begin in the coming months,” said Frey.