EAST LANSING, Mich. — If you've visited Patriarche Park in East Lansing you've probably noticed the orange cones and caution tape.
“We are completely renovating the pavilion and restrooms in Patriarche Park,” said Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Wendy Longpre.
This is one of five parks and recreation projects the city has planned as part of its $3.2 million project to improve aging infrastructure.
“Our infrastructure is aging just as our body’s age," Longpre said. "Sometimes it takes a little more energy and money to do the things our bodies need to do.”
In total, the Patriarche project will cost around $639,000.
“There’s just going to be a lot of things we haven’t tried before," Longpre said. "Including a solar array which is going to provide all of the power that we need for one of the restroom buildings.”
The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center is also under construction. The $410,000 project will include new pool liners, concrete repair, refurbishment of the water slides, and new landscaping. Renovations will take place this summer with the goal of reopening the aquatic center in 2022.
Future projects include renovations to hard sports surfaces at Patriarche Park, pedestrian bridges, Lake Lansing road intersection improvements, and relocating the northern tier trail for a total of about $2.1 million.
The question is, where is all of this money coming from during a time where the city has seen a decrease in revenue?
“We’ve been very lucky in securing funding through the Natural Resources Trust Fund, through the Ingham County Parks and Trails millage fund, as well as through the cities income tax funds, the portions that are allocated to the parks and recreation,” Longpre said.
Longpre said the majority of the funding for these projects was secured before the pandemic began.
“We have had to adjust a little bit the timing on our projects to make sure that the funds are available prior to,” said Longpre.
The Parks and Recreation Commission is focusing on updating the aging infrastructure and adding diversity and inclusion elements to areas over the next ten years.
“Adding QR codes to some of our signage so that people who have visual impairments can hear what the sign says,” Longpre said.
Projects are anticipated to cost $16.2 million over the next decade and Longpre said they're still trying to figure out where exactly that money will come from.
“Currently there isn’t an identified funding source for that," Longpre said. "That is definitely something that we are going to need to be looking at departmentally to see how we can and what methods we might be able to use to secure funds.”
Longpre said the improvements are much needed and the department will begin working on where to get this funding over the next decade.
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