West Park, located between the streets of Miller and Huron, and Chapin and Seventh, will be closed due to improvements from March-October of this coming year.
West contains a bandshell where concerts are given in the summer, a picnic shelter and restrooms, a playground, spray fountain, softball fields, a basketball court, tennis courts, volleyball posts, picnic tables and walking path. At the Miller entrance a historic pergola marks the way for visitors into the park.
This park is a hot spot for activity during the spring and summer months and this had led some to wonder about the temporary closing.
"I wonder where the Ann Arbor Civic Band will be playing this summer, " Richard Kenneth Carter posted on the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
Some neighbors of the park are left wondering too. Ann Arbor resident Ashley Zwick posted a comment on the Parks and Rec. Facebook page relaying the sentiment of not being fully informed.
Zwick wondered if the entire park would be closed and said that they use the park on a daily basis. The tennis courts will still be accessible during the project.
"Some form of neighbor communication would have been much appreciated!" Zwick posted on Facebook.
Parks and Recreation's West Park improvements contact Amy Kuras said the focus of the project is on stormwater management. According to Kuras, soon-to-be installed features include 8-underground swirl concentrators which will intercept the Allen Creek storm pipe to remove phosphorus and other pollutants. There will also be a series of bio swales (linear swales vegetated with tall grasses and wildflowers) and wetlands that will help remove pollutants from surface runoff water. Kuras said areas surrounding the swales and wetlands as well as steep slopes will be planted with naturalized vegetation.
Kuras said several public meetings have been held and newspaper articles have been written on the West Park project. But she is willing to answer any questions regarding the project. She said the Civic Band knows of the closure, but she is not sure of their plans. She can be reached at (734) 794-6230.
Kuras said the park amenities will include seat walls built in to the hill in front of the bandshell featuring artwork by a local artist, new access stairs from western entrance off of Huron, and new pathways from Seventh Street. In addition, the basketball court will be relocated out of the floodway, the parking lot will be reconfigured to minimize asphalt, and a community garden will be planned. The open field play area will be regraded for better drainage. Finally, Kuras said a boardwalk and overlook will run adjacent to the wetland near the tennis court stairs.
"The project is being funded through the State Revolving Loan Fund, as well as Federal Stimulus Funding (ARRA), and the Park Maintenance and Capital Improvements Millage," Kuras said.
The work on the park is one part of the overall park improvement projects approved and funded by the passed 2006 six-year millage. The City of Ann Arbor has 157 parks and many of them will undergo or have received some improvements since the millage passing. It is now West's turn to get some crucial work done assigned in the master plan.
To see a full maintenance schedule click on http://www.a2gov.org/government/communityservices/ParksandRecreation/ParkPlanningDevelopment/Documents/Parks_Project_Status_Table-FY2008-09.pdf.