Bond projects to start in parks this summer

Ron Davis doesn’t want to waste any time getting Oxford Township’s park system all fixed up to better serve the public.

Last week, the longtime director of the parks and recreation department updated the township board on plans to spend $2 million in bond money.

“We’re going to be aggressive with this,” Davis said. “Our philosophy at the parks and rec. is not to sit on the money. The taxpayers want to see it spent, so we’re going to do what we can.”

In the November 2016 election, Oxford residents voted 6,214 to 4,031 to approve a 10-year, $2 million bond proposal to fund repairs, improvements and additions in all four township parks.

Of the 25 bond projects, the plan is to get 19 of them accomplished this summer and fall. The remainder would be done throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2018.

Using plans prepared by township engineer Jim Sharpe, president of Sharpe Engineering, Davis provided officials with a snapshot of what’s going to happen at each park.

Here are some highlights.

At Seymour Lake Township Park, all four deteriorated tennis courts are going to be torn out and new ones installed (summer 2017), while all four softball fields in the front of the park are going to receive new fences and backstops (fall 2017).

The Smith Silo picnic pavilion is going to get a new roof this summer and have the sand volleyball courts relocated across from it.

On the south end of Seymour Lake Park, the plan calls for the construction of a 3,600-square-foot pavilion and 848-square-foot concession stand/warming center, located next to the existing restrooms between the baseball and soccer fields.

An ice-skating rink and sledding hill are also going to be constructed on the south end, east of the existing restrooms. The skating rink will be about 150 feet long and 75 feet wide. It will have a 5-inch concrete base with a 3-inch curb all the way around it and a berm or island in the center containing three trees, according to Davis.

“It will not be designed for hockey,” he noted. “It’s more of a family skate area.”

The new pavilion, concession stand, skating rink and sledding hill are all slated to be built this summer and fall.

Expansions of existing parking lots and the addition of roadside parking will take place this summer.

Stony Lake Township Park is going to get a “major facelift” that’s “well-needed,” Davis said.

The existing asphalt driveway, parking lot and boat launch area are all going to be milled and resurfaced in spring 2018.

All three of Stony Lake’s pavilions are going to receive new roofs this fall. The park will also undergo restroom repairs, retaining wall replacements and the installation of new sidewalks this fall.

To accomplish all this, the park is going to be completely closed beginning Sept. 1, 2017, according to Davis. Depending on how the work progresses, he would like to have Stony Lake re-open for ice fishing during the winter months.

Over at Powell Lake Township Park, next to the Oxford Public Library, plans are to install a fishing pier/observation deck connected to the Polly Ann Trail on the west end of the lake. This would be done this fall.

A 936-square-foot picnic pavilion along with a playground area will be added to Powell Lake Park next spring (or potentially this fall). Davis is also looking into possibly using some of the bond money as matching funds to pursue a grant to build restroom facilities at Powell Lake.

All new boardwalks will be installed at Powell Lake in fall 2018.

At Oakwood Lake Township Park, concrete tee pads for the new disc golf course will be installed as well as a crushed limestone road leading to Rossman Lake, which will allow public safety personnel easier and quicker access in the event of an emergency.

A fishing dock is going to be installed on Rossman Lake and Davis is working with Home Depot to have it sponsor, and possibly construct, an observation tower overlooking wetland and upland areas.

All of the Oakwood Lake Park improvements are planned for this summer.


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