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DeWitt's parks improvement plan in motion, will spend tens of millions

Riverside Park in DeWitt, January 2023
Posted at 10:12 AM, Jan 04, 2023

The city of DeWitt has a 15-year parks improvement plan—announced about a year ago—to pour tens of millions of dollars into seven of its nine parks by 2037. For Sports Park and Riverside Park, those plans are well in motion.

In June, the city announced it would spend about $535,000 on new playground equipment for the two parks. Now, the old equipment has been demolished and in its place, orange fencing.

"Unfortunately, there's been a shipping delay for the replacement equipment, but we have gotten word that the vast majority has been received by the installers, and with the weather the way it is, we are going to wait until the spring," City Administrator Dan Coss said.

The two parks should have the new equipment by summer, but there is already so much more in the works. The city applied for $1.4 million in grants from Michigan's Department of Natural Resources to help fund further improvements at Sports, Riverside and McGuire parks.

"The biggest grant is at Sports Park, and that one is actually about $750,000. That includes half-a-mile walking trail around the entire perimeter, resurfacing of the parking lot, new dugouts for the ball fields, a universally accessible paved path to our soccer fields and some other miscellaneous improvements," Coss said.

Riverside Park will get a new pavilion and new public restrooms, and McGuire Park will get four pickleball courts, outdoor adult exercise equipment and a universally accessible pedestrian path to the Looking Glass River.

"We know overwhelmingly from the community surveys that we've done, that these amenities are expectations, and they mean a lot to the residents so that's why it's been a focus of City Council to have these improvements and keep these parks updated," Coss said.

As of now, Coss said, taxes in the city will not go up to help pay for the parks.

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