Archived Story

Dowagiac gets Russom Park green light

Published 9:40pm Monday, September 10, 2012

A project several years in the making, Dowagiac’s planned improvements to Russom Park can finally begin after receiving the necessary funding from the state.

During the regular meeting of city council Monday evening, City Manager Kevin Anderson announced the Michigan Department of Natural Resources provided the grant that will allow improvement projects to begin. The process, according to Anderson, began roughly three years ago when the city began the application process for the grant. Through $398,000 worth of projects — $300,000 of which is funded by the grant — Russom Park is expected to receive upgrades to soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds, paved parking lots, walking trails, playground equipment and proper drainage.

“This grant allows for those improvements to take place,” Anderson said. “We’ve saved our portion of the funding over the last few years and it’s been sitting in the bank waiting for the state’s funds to come through.”

The city is also working closely with Silver Creek Township, who owns a portion of the park and will also receive $300,000 from the grant.

“The advantage is that the state has been asking for joint efforts,” Mayor Pro Tem Leon Laylin said. “This project qualifies for that.”

Anderson said the first of the projects will begin in spring of next year with the soccer fields. After baseball and softball season have finished, the diamonds will be next.

“Somewhere in between, we’ll have a playground project that will take place,” Anderson said.

Though it has been a long process, Anderson said he and the city commend the DNR for its efforts in guiding them through the process.

“They’ve been really helpful with giving advice and helping shape the project,” Anderson said.

Anderson commented that now the city can begin the bid process.

“It’s finally here,” he said. “Now the project can go out to bid and move forward.”

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