Posts filed under: Recreation

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy held a grand opening on October 13, 2016, to celebrate completion of the Campbell Terrace, an outdoor performance venue built in memory of former McGregor Fund President, C. David Campbell. Located on the Dequindre Cut Greenway, the venue includes landscaped seating, and spaces for food and equipment trucks. Wade Trim worked on the project in partnership with Hamilton Anderson Associates providing structural/utilities design and site grading. Building information modeling was used to design the large canopy structure that is cantilevered off an old abutment.

Wade Trim was also involved in the overall development of the Dequindre Cut Greenway providing construction engineering, survey, and inspection services and design of improvements to four bridges along the 1.75-mile-long pedestrian and bike pathway.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony held on April 29, 2016, marked the completion of Link Detroit, a series of greenway projects that connect 20 miles of continuous walking and biking paths linking Downtown, Midtown, Eastern Market, the Detroit Riverfront and Hamtramck. The projects comprise a five-year effort by the City of Detroit, in collaboration with numerous public and non-profit organizations, to create a greener, more pedestrian-friendly City.

Wade Trim’s involvement has focused on the Dequindre Cut Greenway, a 1.75-mile-long pedestrian and bike pathway that runs beneath street level along the former Grand Trunk Railroad line. The first phase of the pathway connected the East Riverfront District with the Lafayette Park neighborhood and Eastern Market. Wade Trim provided construction engineering, survey and inspection services for the project.

In Phase 2, the pathway was extended through Eastern Market to Mack Avenue. We designed improvements to four structurally-deficient bridges that link to other multimodal connection points in and around Eastern Market. The Wilkins, Division and Adelaide bridges were replaced and the Alfred bridge was removed. Wide sidewalks for pedestrians and other non-motorized users were incorporated into all the bridges. Bike paths were added at the Wilkins Street bridge and room for future bike paths were incorporated into the other bridges. Care was taken to visually blend the improvements with adjacent buildings and structures as well as other projects in the area.


Community leaders that kicked off the celebration include (left to right) Rodrick Miller (Detroit Economic Growth Corporation), Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Dan Carmody (Eastern Market Corporation), Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Kirk Steudle (Michigan Department of Transportation), Mariam Noland (Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan) and William Smith (Detroit Riverfront Conservancy).

The City of Dunedin’s prominent parks and recreation system is a cornerstone to the quality of life offered by this Pinellas County, FL, community. Known for its well-maintained urban parks, particularly within the downtown Community Redevelopment Area, the City also boasts several active parks with recreation facilities and programming for all ages. Public golf courses, a marina, a fine art center, and other special purpose facilities are also featured as well as natural areas that support conservation, environmental education, and habitat connectivity. Seeking to respond to existing recreation needs and anticipate residents’ future desires, the City worked with Wade Trim to complete a Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan that sets a course for improvements over the next five to ten years.

The Plan is focused on maintaining the high quality and level of service of existing facilities, with supplemental or new recreation opportunities to meet specific community needs. Recommendations of the Strategic Plan were generated based on a four-phase planning process that included an Environmental Scan, Community Involvement, Level of Service Standards, and Financial/Operational Assessment. Public input was gathered using surveys and public forums where goals and priorities emerged including a new dog park, additional sports fields, improvements to the public pool complex and skate park, and more programs for older residents. Implementation of these recommendations will depend on the City’s ability to secure funding and balance parks and recreation needs with plans for other improvements in the Dunedin community.


A map of Dunedin’s parks and recreation service area shows where gaps exist, directing the City’s focus on acquiring new park lands and expanding recreation opportunities. Goals include improving connectivity from neighborhoods to existing parks, promoting private-public partnerships, and converting underutilized open space to usable parks.

With limited area available for new growth, the City of Sterling Heights, MI, seeks to create a sustainable future through land use and parks and recreation development. The City’s population of 130,000 has increased by more than 100% since 1970 with only 5% of its 36.8 square miles still available for development. Wade Trim is leading a team of professional firms to update the City’s Master Land Use Plan and Parks and Recreation Master Plan over the next 18 months.

Located within one of southeast Michigan’s most prominent economic growth corridors, the City is home to more than 3,500 commercial and industrial businesses including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Chrysler Assembly Plant, Ford Motor Company’s Sterling Axle Plant, and Lakeside Mall, a 1.5 million-square-foot shopping center. The City also draws more than 500,000 people annually to Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, a premier outdoor entertainment venue.

Building on its strengths, the City is turning its planning attention to in-fill development proposals and redevelopment opportunities, while simultaneously protecting and preserving established neighborhoods. It is also exploring placemaking strategies – quality of place, scale, mix and connections – to attract the next wave of residents, including identifying key opportunities to expand the park system. The Plans will be market-driven, based on a deeper understanding of the market preferences for housing, desired leisure activities, and the discretionary spending habits of residents.

Extensive public engagement will be used throughout the planning program including an interactive project website, a community-wide Vision Fair, two community forum events, quarterly broadcasts on the City’s cable television station, and multiple study meetings with the City’s Planning Commission. The planning program is expected to be complete by fall 2016.

Ralph W. Crego Park has reopened to the public as the centerpiece of the City of Lansing’s park system after engineering and landscape improvements transformed the abandoned 200-acre facility into an environmentally-sustainable community asset. Closed for 28 years due to industrial contamination from the previous owner, the park was revived with a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund and $250,000 from the City’s parks millage fund. The project was recognized by the Michigan Recreation and Park Association with an Outstanding Park Design Award at their Annual Conference in February 2015.

Improving habitat and providing accessibility to the park’s 15-acre Fidelity Lake were primary goals. As a subconsultant to Eng. Inc., Wade Trim provided landscape architecture and structural engineering for the permeable-surface parking area, a handicap-accessible fishing pier and canoe/kayak launch, walkways and green space along the lake shore, site restoration, and a half-mile paved pathway connecting to the popular Lansing River Trail.

To enhance fishing, an innovative design was implemented using fish cribs underneath the pier to provide habitat for smaller fish. The pier extends over the deepest and most diverse part of the lake to provide access to the best fishing spots. Several large rock outcropping steps placed intermittently along the lake shore provide safe access down to the water’s edge and serve as fishing spots, even as lake levels fluctuate. Existing steep banks were sloped back and restored to provide fishing access along the shore while reducing ownership and maintenance costs, improving safety, and reducing bank erosion. Native plantings including a variety of tree and shrub species, as well as restored prairie and wetland edge plantings, allow water to filter and purify naturally, increase habitat and reduce long-term maintenance.

The natural landscape was preserved by working within the natural configuration of the land and understanding vegetation and drainage patterns. Project elements requiring larger footprints, such as the parking lot, were sited in previously disturbed areas to minimize further disturbance to natural features. A meandering trail was designed to protect mature trees, and a screened access gate maintains and shields the City’s natural resource processing center. Since the park is located in the floodplain of the Red Cedar River, trail improvements included a pedestrian footbridge across the floodway to protect surrounding wetlands.

“It’s great to see kids ride down the River Trail, see the opening to the lake and say, ‘I never knew this existed,’ ” said Brett Kaschinske, Director of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. “The end result is even better than imagined. This park will be enjoyed by the community for years to come.”

Visions of transforming the City of Port Richey’s 13-acre Waterfront Park into a regional eco-tourism hub and a centerpiece to promote future redevelopment efforts within the City and west Pasco County, FL, are taking shape after the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved the Waterfront Park Master Plan. Completed by Wade Trim, with assistance from PlaceMaker Design Studio, ArrowCreek AgriEcologists, and Wannemacher Jensen Architects, the Plan outlines numerous recommended park improvements, to be implemented in phases, as well as potential funding sources. Improvements will include new trails and a boardwalk, a universally accessible playground and a welcome plaza with a new pavilion and restrooms. The park’s pier and kayak launch are also being considered for improvements. The public has taken an active role in the project, providing input on design to make sure the park enhancements reflect the interests of the community.

From playgrounds to picnic areas, community parks have long been valued for the recreational opportunities they provide. However, the potential for these public spaces to help make communities unique and vibrant places is often underutilized. To help attract residents, businesses and visitors, many communities are using placemaking strategies that focus on the social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits of parks. Wade Trim is helping communities improve their overall quality of life by designing parks and other public spaces that provide ease of access, linkages, multiple uses and activities, comfort and sociability.

The concept of placemaking is based on the principle that people want to live and work in places that offer the amenities, resources and opportunities that support thriving lifestyles. Parks are a highly-visible asset that help communities create these lifestyles along with other public places such as squares, plazas, sidewalks, green spaces and waterfronts. Placemaking occurs in the planning and design of these specific spaces and their integration with the overall community. The goal is to create public spaces that offer a community more value collectively than their individual uses.

When the Charter Township of Brownstown, MI, set out to redevelop their existing park and municipal campus they intended to attract people by creating a place that balances development and green space while providing recreational uses for all ages and activity levels. The campus is home to Township offices, public works facilities, a community center, two softball fields, a children’s play structure and a small pavilion. Wade Trim prepared a master plan for the entire property as well as detailed construction plans for project implementation. Funded by the DDA, the master plan seeks to leverage a campus full of well-developed public amenities as a way to generate residential and commercial growth. It also acknowledges that unique facilities can be paid for, in significant part, through rental and use fees.

Improvements focus on enhancing the usability of the park and surrounding property while creating a regional recreational attraction. Recreation objectives include upgrades to and expansion of sports field facilities, a water play facility, more interesting and expansive play opportunities for children, and more opportunity for walking and health-related activities. Social objectives include a wider variety of opportunities for older adults, encouragement of family-oriented and mixed-age activities, settings and facilities to accommodate private and public social functions, and development of community gardens. The improvements are being constructed in phases through Fall 2013.

The City of East Jordan, MI, recognized the placemaking potential of its waterfront Tourist Park facility. A camping facility on Lake Charlevoix, Tourist Park includes a beach front and an abandoned small-boat marina. Adjacent to the park are Murphy Field, a youth baseball facility, and a softball field used primarily for women’s leagues, as well as two tennis courts. These individual facilities are used heavily on a seasonal basis by their constituent groups, but overall, Tourist Park is not widely used by the community. The City wanted a plan that would transform Tourist Park into a more diverse and dynamic place that would attract visitors and residents while leveraging its waterfront assets.

The master plan prepared by Wade Trim focused on how the interface between the campground and the waterfront could be used to enhance access, diversify uses and activities, and promote sociability. The same focus was applied to developing connections between the ballfield areas and the greater site. Walking paths and pavilions were used, for example, to create common gathering areas and promote exploration of the entire park. The next step in this process will be to more thoroughly assess management and financial aspects of park operation to determine how physical improvements and economic considerations can be mutually sustainable.

The grounds around Otsego County’s Courthouse in downtown Gaylord, MI, are rarely used except at the height of summer when people can be seen having a picnic on the lawn or when there is spillover use from events at an adjacent street-spanning pavilion. Recognizing the placemaking potential of this small but key space to provide a park-like experience for users, the County embarked on a master plan. The plan focuses on inviting people to use the space by improving linkages and access, enhancing opportunities for the number and types of activities, and promoting sociability.

The master plan proposes that the existing clock tower be updated and moved out to the street edge where electronic signs can easily inform passers-by of upcoming activities and the tower can serve as an information kiosk for pedestrians. A central plaza is proposed that includes an interactive water feature. The water elements are set flush with plaza paving and without a raised basin so the feature can be turned off and the space can be used for any number of civic and social functions. Easily-accessible paths lead into the plaza and to the front door of the courthouse. Lawn areas are still part of the plan but combined with a mixture of spaces, increased seating opportunities, more gracious settings for public memorials, and an enhanced textural palette of plantings.

A placemaking approach is also being used by Grandvue Medical Care Facility in East Jordan, MI, to improve this long-term health care facility’s campus. Wade Trim prepared a series of interconnected master plans that added assisted living facilities, specialized care facilities and a recreation and activity terrace. An important part of Grandvue’s mission and of residents’ well-being is to promote contact with people. The terrace provides a key placemaking opportunity to promote recreation, exercise, gardening and socializing. It is intended to draw together residents, staff, visitors, children, and the larger community. It will include an activity barn with pens for animals, gardening areas, strolling paths, ponded and running water, a pavilion, horseshoes, a putting green, and play equipment for both older adults and children. With its park-like amenities, the terrace will be accessible, comfortable, promote sociability, and provide for multiple uses and activities.

Parks and park-like public spaces can contribute to their surrounding communities in innumerable ways. Parks that are easily accessible, linked and connected make it easy for people to get there. Parks that offer diverse uses and activities give people more reasons to come. Parks that are perceived as places of comfort and beauty that promote social interaction encourage people to stay. Recognizing and acting upon opportunities to create public spaces that offer these placemaking elements will make our communities more interesting, viable and sustainable places to live and work.


Several new features including a dog park, event barn, splash pad, soccer fields and sledding hill will help make Brownstown’s Recreation Campus a unique place within the southeast Michigan region.