August 21, 2019

City of Standish fixing local park


STANDISH — After acquiring the former Arenac County children’s park on Airpark Drive two summers ago, the city of Standish has been revitalizing it with the help of the community, most recently adding a playscape and swing sets.

City Manager Jerry Nelson said updates have been funded through a $19,000 grant from the Eastern Michigan Council of Governments last summer, a $1,250 endowment from the Arenac Community Funds this past June and a $5,600 donation from Vantage Plastics December 2016.

He said where the park was compared to where it is now is like night and day.

“We’ve done a lot of improvements in two years,” Nelson said.

Besides adding swings to the playground this past July, other work has been done, including the pavilion being painted, the landscape cleaned up, trees planted, streetlights added, the playground area extended and a parking area added, he said.

Nelson said the trees were donated by ReLeaf Michigan and were planted by volunteers, and the swings were constructed by the Standish Department of Public Works.

Nelson said future points of focus include painting the other pavilion and replacing the dirt floor with concrete, adding more equipment, and clearing some of the wooded parts of the park and expanding. The plan is to apply for more grants in the future, probably including a 2 percent Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe grant, he said.

Nelson said there is no time table for when everything is to be

completed since the city is chipping away as funds become available.

He said he thinks the park will be good for the housing economy of the city.

“They look for those types of things,” he said. “It’s an important part of the community.”

Nelson would like to add a park on the other side of town in future years, he said.

“I believe the kids in this town need a place to go, play and hang out during the summer,” Nelson said.

Arenac Community Funds member Adam Kroczaleski said he took an interest in this project when he saw the city had planted new trees, added new equipment and painted the pavilion. When he was young, he used to play at the park himself, he said.

“That’s when I went to Jerry with the city and the Arenac Community Funds board,” Kroczaleski said.

He said a park without swings didn’t seem right, so he brought the idea to the the board as a member. Normally, the Arenac Community Funds grant cycle is in the spring and fall, he said, but this was an out-of-cycle grant because of extra money available.

“It’s really exciting to see the park coming back together piece by piece,” Kroczaleski said.

According to the Bay Area Community Foundation’s website, the Arenac Community Funds board was initiated by a group of advocates in Arenac County within the BACF in 2000. The foundation’s goal is to help with funding for youth initiatives, emergency services, arts and culture and more.


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