If you are planning to have a private party at Wyoming’s Oriole Park, there will be a charge.
At its last meeting, the Wyoming City Council unanimously approved a fee schedule for public rental of the the Oriole Park shelter. The fee is $50 for a resident and $75 for a non-resident for a three-hour time block and $15 for an additional hour. The fee goes into effect Aug. 1.
One of the city’s oldest parks – acquired in 1955 – Oriole Park went through a major renovation with about $741,432 in grant money from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Access to Recreation Fund along with matching grants from the dedicated operational millage of Wyoming’s Parks and Recreation Department. Reopened in 2011, about the only original feature left was the bathrooms with the park receiving a number of new features, including a splash pad, that made Oriole Park accessible to all ages and abilities to use.
The park is beautiful, according to Barb DeCan, who is with the Oriole Park Neighborhood Watch and spoke to the council about the park in February. The problem is that once people discovered it was a free park, things started getting out of hand with people “squatting” at the park’s shelter starting at 7 in the morning and parties running until late in the afternoon, DeCan said, adding that those parties would be in excess of 100 people.
Because of the number of people at the park, the neighborhood children are coming home unable to use the splash pad or other amenities in the park, DeCan said. “They are being told that the splash pad is for their people’s use only,” she said.
DeCan said the neighbors would like some fairness in the use of the park by having a permanent or fee.
Rebecca Rynbrandt, Wyoming director of community services, said since Oriole Park is one of the city’s smaller parks, it can seem a little crowded when a good size group is there. Rynbrandt said the city does work with groups and tries to encourage them to utilize parks such as Pinery and Lamar, which can accommodate bigger groups.
Part of the reason the city had not place any fees on usage at Oriole Park was because of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund requirements that prohibit restrictions on general use of the park such as restricting it to residents only or charging an access fee. However, through a study, the city’s Park and Recreation Commission was able to determine that a fee on the Oriole Park shelter was allowed for reservations that excluded the general public from using the facility.
The Parks and Recreation Commission reviewed the city’s current reservation fees for its various parks. Because of the splash pad and other amenities at Oriole Park, it was decided to make the fee $50 for resident and $75 for non-resident. The fee is the same as Lamar Park’s shelter with the park also having a splash pad. The only park in Wyoming that now does not have a reservation fee is Frog Hollow Park
The reservation fee is only for Oriole Park’s shelter. All of the other amenities, including the splash pad, are open to the general public during regular park hours.