Here are the planned improvements coming to three Huron-Clinton Metroparks

Improvements at three Metroparks could be underway in 2024, if they receive funding, and communities can weigh in with forums that began Thursday, planners say.

The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority is seeking public comment on proposed improvements for the Delhi Metropark, located five miles outside of Ann Arbor; Lake St. Clair Metropark, located in Harrison Township in Macomb County; and Stony Creek Metropark, which spans Oakland and Macomb counties.

The coordinators would seek funding for the projects from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Recreation Grants Program. Submissions are due April 1.

Public feedback will help guide the final design of proposed park improvements, said Jay Bibby, acting chief planning and development officer for Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

Last year, the three Metroparks saw more than 1.25 million vehicles pass through its doors.

Metropark’s 13 visitors generate $92.4 million a year in direct spending, according to a study by the Trust for Public Land.

River rides and land trail improvements continue to top public inquiries, Bibby said, adding that the goal of the improvements is to increase accessibility to meet American Disability Act standards in the three cases.

“The Lake St. Clair West Parkway has been identified in our plans as requiring accessibility repairs and improvements. Everything must be ADA-compliant, but we go beyond the standards, using principles of design universals to create that recreational opportunity that everyone can enjoy,” Bibby mentioned. “Ditto the Delhi Kayak Launch Site and the Stony Creek Reflection Trail – both needed improvements for accessibility.”

Specifically, in Delhi, the proposed project would renovate areas along the Huron River, adding a new floating dock system. This would widen the sandy launch/exit area for the kayak. It would also add restrooms, three picnic tables, two dog waste stations, relocate the water faucet, replace the concrete driveway to the river, and improve parking on the east side.

At Lake St. Clair, planners hope to improve accessibility along the West Boardwalk area by adding paved walkways to connect picnic areas, adding picnic tables and grills to the existing shelter, remove concrete stairs and ramps that do not meet ADA standards and add recreational carpeting on the sand and in the water to allow for greater beach accessibility. There are plans to move garbage cans and pet waste stations.

For Stony Creek, improving accessibility to the Reflection Nature Trail and replacing three bridges top the list of improvements. Stony Creek spans 4,435 acres across Oakland and Macomb counties.

Improvements also include replacing the existing wharf with a shoreline viewing platform, push-button accessible doors at the main entrance to the Nature Center, relocating benches, accessibility to the development of the meadow and modification of the existing trail for accessible slopes and cross slopes.

Improvements likely haven’t been made since the parks were established, Bibby said.

“The boardwalk has been iconic and a landmark since Lake St. Clair was Metro Beach, and has been around since the 1950s. Stony Creek opened in 1964, so the lifespan of these facilities needs to be improved. Delhi has been part of our system since 1967 and now it’s improvements that would make it more accessible to everyone,” Bibby said.

Sharry Bronson, 49, is a long-distance runner who has been going to Stony Creek since the mid-90s. For the past few years, she has been crossing the park at least once a week.

“I mostly stick to the paved path and it looks like there have already been improvements recently to those paths and the mountain bike trails,” Bronson of Madison Heights said. “They do what they can and it seems like there’s something new every summer, and that makes the park more enjoyable for people like me.”

Residents can view proposed projects and plans on the Metroparks website and give your opinion in an online survey open until February 28.

A viewing platform is seen at the Stony Creek Metro Park boat launch in Sterling Heights on February 12.

At the first public meeting on Thursday, 12 people attended and Bibby said there was enthusiasm for the boardwalk site furnishings. People have questioned cable wire railings and recommended galvanized steel, which won’t need repainting.

There is also a virtual public hearing at 1 p.m. on March 10, prior to the meeting of the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority’s Board of Commissioners.

The project improvements amount to nearly $1 million for each subway and if the highest reward is $500,000 for each, the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority is obligated to contribute 50%.

If the grants were awarded by December, it would take a year to complete a project agreement and work would begin construction in the fall of 2024.

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Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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