Kellogg Park plans draw residents’ ire
Oct. 24, 2016 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
There was no lack of interest or criticism for plans to remake Kellogg Park in downtown Plymouth during a meeting at the city Cultural Center last week.
Plans for the 150th anniversary of the City of Plymouth include a complete remake of the park, the centerpiece of the downtown area, funded by private donations.
The changes for the park were presented at a Downtown Development Authority workshop meeting last week when mayor Pro Tem Oliver Wolcott and City Manager Paul Sincock discussed the plans. Details of the revitalization of the 1.3-acre park include wider walkways, moving the fountain to the west and adding a seating wall on the Main Street edge of the park. Several audience members expressed their opposition to the plans and criticized the designs as presented. One long-time Plymouth resident, who asked not to be named, was concerned about the impact of the new design on the image of the community.
“Redefining the people-friendly, quaint town square the way they want it will change the feel of the downtown area forever, and certainly not for the best,” he said.
David Rucinski, a downtown resident and Plymouth business executive, was among the nearly 160 people in the audience. He has collected more than 1,100 signatures in opposition to radical changes to the park and fountain. Contacted after the meeting Rucinski said, “We are working closely with the DDA and the City of Plymouth to resolve the citizen concerns on the proposed changes to Kellogg Park and the fountain.”
According to details presented by Wesco Fountains, the Florida-based contractor awarded the more than $1 million contract, the renovations will include a complete rebuilding of the circular fountain with state-of-the-art controls, water sculpture capabilities and an LED lighting system. In addition, all of the existing park sidewalks will be replaced and relocated to complement a better route to the downtown main streets. The plans call for the new fountain to be reconstructed 21 feet west of the current site with a 35-foot diameter, up from the current 31-foot fountain. The fountain footprint will remain unchanged.
Also discussed was having the ability to close, at least temporarily, Union Street at Ann Arbor Trail to incorporate the green space in front of the Wilcox House. Sincock mentioned that Union Street was not open to Ann Arbor Trail 43 years ago.
Wolcott said one of the goals of the project was to make the park more usable year round and replace the current centerpiece fountain which has withstood decades of use.
“We want to make something that has lasting appeal to as many people as possible,” Wolcott said.
Wolcott explained that brick pavers, trees and landscaping would be installed in an effort to strengthen the connection to Union Street and harmonize the area in front of the Wilcox House. Union Street would be closed by the use of large planters that could be moved for special events and festivals, according to the plans presented.
Other improvements include new movable park benches, receptacles and other outdoor furniture. An 18-inch high wall will run the full length of Main, from Penniman to almost Ann Arbor Trail according to the DDA sponsored proposal.
Jeff Horvath, CEO of Wesco Fountains, said the focus of the design was to “celebrate historic, economic, natural and cultural amenities and strengthen connectivity to downtown.” Landscape architect Marc Russell of Russell Design of Northville said the design was an effort to connect the park more strongly to the surrounding streetscape. The plan to move the fountain 21 feet to the west, he said, would bring it to the center of the park when the green space in front of the Wilcox House across Union Street was included.
He said that some of the trees in the park are diseased and many of the Norway maples need to come down as they are not suited for the conditions.
There are plans to sell engraved pavers on the main north-south sidewalk of the park as fundraisers to offset some of the expense, Wolcott explained.
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