By JORDYN GRZELEWSKI
As warmer weather approaches, Mill Creek MetroParks is gearing up for a slew of capital improvements.
Although work will not begin this year, the MetroParks is in the early stages of a major renovation of Ford Nature Center. Design work for the $3 million project is slated to wrap up this spring.
Steve Avery, MetroParks Planning & Operations director, described the project as a redevelopment of the nature center.
“It’s been a mansion, a residence that was used for a nature center without a whole lot of renovations for 40 years,” he said. “Now, we’re actually going to do the renovation that creates a nature center there.”
Wrapping up this spring is the replacement of the Lanterman’s Mill wheel. That project replaced the 16-year-old water wheel that powers the equipment used to grind corn, wheat and buckwheat.
The MetroParks also has a number of new projects scheduled this year. The capital-improvement budget is $1,172,650.
“We are excited to share our progress on the capital improvements that have been completed to date, as well as those improvements that are scheduled for 2018,” said Executive Director Aaron Young. “These improvements are expected to have a significant impact on the recreational experience of all users and demonstrate our commitment to providing the finest in park, recreational and open space facilities.”
One of the projects, with a $45,000 budget, will replace the Lake Newport Boat Launch dock and add a sand launching area there. Avery said the new dock will be a deck-like structure with some seating.
The MetroParks has $350,000 budgeted for road improvements, including the second phase of a West Newport Drive resurfacing and improvement project. West Newport between Sheban and Hampton drives will be resurfaced, with $126,933 covered by a grant.
A bunker restoration project will continue at Mill Creek Golf Course. The $250,000 project will reconstruct bunkers on the North Course.
With $150,000 budgeted, the park plans to improve parking lots at Fellows Riverside Gardens, the Lake Newport Wetlands, and the golf course’s south lot.
The same amount is budgeted for trail work, which includes construction of a restroom at the MetroParks Bikeway Farm Trailhead; construction of an aggregate trail along West Newport Drive; improvements to Ford Nature Center’s hiking trails; and construction of bridges at Hitchcock Woods and Sebring Woods.
Also budgeted is $40,000 to construct a parking lot on South Turner Road to provide public access to Saw Mill Creek Preserve. That plan also includes constructing a looping hiking trail there.
At Scholl Recreation Area, the park will put $25,000 toward new acrylic surfacing for the tennis and basketball courts and will add a pickleball court.
Mill Creek MetroParks | 2018 projects
Some of the projects on the MetroParks’ calendar this year. For a full list, visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org/informative-presentations
West Newport Drive improvements and resurfacing
Comfort station at MetroParks Bikeway Farm Trailhead
Lanterman’s Mill Waterwheel improvements
Tennis & basketball court improvements at Scholl Recreation Area
Mill Creek Golf Course North Course bunker restoration
Lake Newport Boat Launch dock replacement
Ford Nature Center renovation
Lanterman’s Mill wheel replacement
Source: Mill Creek MetroParks