East Lansing’s Emerson Park will get some long-needed fixing up following Council’s Oct. 18 approval of a contract that, with a contingency allocation, comes to about $188,000. The funds are being drawn from last year’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds plus $80,000 from the revenue off of East Lansing’s income tax.
Council approved the contract by voting it through on the consent agenda, meaning there was no discussion of the matter at the meeting.
Emerson Park is bordered by Red Cedar Elementary School and the Arbor Glen apartments and serves the residents of the Red Cedar and Ivanhoe neighborhoods. The reason the City could use federal CDBG funds for this project is the area includes substantial numbers of residents whose incomes fall into the area’s low-to-moderate range.
The 2.7-acre park has fallen into disrepair and includes numerous elements that are out of sync with requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The “accessible” parking is on a slope and the walkway and, according to a memo from city staff, “Much of the equipment that used to be in the park has been removed because of non-compliance with existing playground standards….The walkway is cracked and heaving in many spots and the slop doesn’t meet ADA standards. There is also no accessible walkway to the drinking fountain, playground or picnic tables.”
An improvement plan has been developed following consultation with the Red Cedar neighborhood and the Parks & Rec Advisory Commission. The original round of bids came in “substantially over the available funds” so the city pared back the bid request. Anderson Fisher & Associates of Mason won the contract with the lowest bid at $172,454.
This will cover “Phase I” of the master plan for the park, which includes:
- Replacing the central 4-foot-wide sidewalk with a new 8-foot-wide sidewalk. According to staff, “This was a top priority for the community because this walkway will be able to serve as an emergency exit route from the neighborhood if Arbor Drive becomes unpassable.”
- Installing a pavilion with electricity for “open air meeting and/or work space.”
- Installing edging around the playground to keep the surface material (currently wood chips) from dispersing.
- Adding concrete cornhole boards and hammock poles.
- Providing accessible walkways to reach the play areas, drinking fountain and pavilion.
- Removing the existing parking to create ADA-accessible parking.
The contract calls for the work to be “substantially complete” by Nov. 30, 2022, but “Shelter lead time is 16 weeks once ordered,” which means the pavilion “may not be installed until early spring.”