Despite winter storm warnings, blinding snow and biting cold temperatures, Ideal Park residents braved the elements last Thursday to attend a public meeting regarding the latest plans for restoring their neighborhood namesake. According to Rebecca Rynbrandt, Wyoming’s director of community services, the Ideal Park Christian Reformed community center was packed – much to her delight!
“It turned out to be a really good crowd and a robust discussion about the proposed park plans,” Rynbrandt said. “Residents were pleased that we captured the recommendations they gave us from the first meeting.”
During the initial meetings, residents stressed their primary restoration concerns to be maintaining the historic character of the park and connection to the Interurban Trail, the implementation of reforestation, and the preservation of natural habitat.
Rynbrandt says that in addition to input from residents, suggestions have also come from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Kent County Drain Commission. “We need to consider that this is a complicated ecological site,” she explains. “It’s a flood plain and a flood way, so whatever type of restoration we do, we have be sure it doesn’t add to flood concern.”
One of the changes being considered is eventually moving shelters from the west side of Buck Creek to the east side to be closer to the parking lot for the convenience of visitors. Another change suggests one larger playground on the east side as opposed to having two separate playgrounds.
Rynbrandt added that residents showed no desire about having tennis courts so those will be removed and restored basketball courts added.
Before it’s finalized, the Ideal Park restoration plan will go through the city’s systematic approval process, Rynbrandt explains. The plans will be discussed first by the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Planning Commission before going before the City Commission February work session.