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Russom Park taking shape this summer

Published 9:01pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A $310,620 contract Dowagiac City Council awarded Monday night to Lounsbury Excavating of Paw Paw signals Russom Park is finally beginning to take shape.


Seventy-five percent of the city half of the project with Silver Creek Township come from grant funds, with 25 percent from local capital project funds.


Improvements in this contract create parking lots, improve drainage and build walking trails. The playground portion of the project will be bid separately.


“Silver Creek Township has a similar grant (approved Saturday),” City Manager Kevin Anderson said, “so, in total, there will be nearly $800,000 of improvements to Russom Park over the next six months, with $600,000 of the funding coming from grant funds” through the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund.


Grant coordinator Gary Carlile, retired city grounds director, said the project is expected to last 90 days after the Dowagiac Baseball Association season ends June 20 at the corner of Middle Crossing Road and Yaw Street.


The playground, the focal point, will straddle the city/township property line and is budgeted at $82,500 (city, $27,500; township, $55,000).


Utilizing a “community build” concept, the successful manufacturer/bidder would coordinate construction of the play area utilizing its staff in specialized roles in conjunction with community volunteers and service clubs, which could save 35 to 40 percent while allowing a more diverse structure.


That is expected to occur in September.


Carlile anticipates play area completion yet this season.


“The city will have about a mile of paved walking trail,” Carlile said. “We’ll be putting in a 325-car parking area and an access roadway. Silver Creek will be putting in three-fourths of a mile of asphalt walking trail. We’ll have benches, trees and associated things. The primary contractors are different, however, they have worked together. The subcontractors are the same, making the project comparably seamless. The primary contractors are excavation contractors. The subcontractors are paving contractors.”


“This is the backbone that organizes the park,” Carlile answered Mayor Pro Tem Leon Laylin’s question of whether this constitutes “phase one.”


“Down the road, if we can get funding, there could be some reorganization of the ball fields, permanent restrooms, a picnic shelter, frills of that nature,” Carlile said. “This eliminates helter-skelter parking on the baseball side. On the township side for soccer, they’ll have room for six fields instead of the cramped fields at Northwest Park. Parking and walkways are the major focus of this project, then landscaping to pretty the place up.”


Anderson added, “Space dedicated to soccer here is 2 1/2 to three times larger as opposed to where they’re playing now.”



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  • John Wolff

    Not to be mean, But all the grant money spent is one big reason why our goverment is so far in debt. We may be building this for our children but not even their children will be able to pay it off. So are we really helping them? Our citys are wanting a peice of the cake without paying for it..Soon the cake will be gone and so will are goverment…What a shame..

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