Redeveloped Ideal Park features universally accessible playground, improved parking

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The city of Wyoming announced the grand reopening of Ideal Park.

The reopening of the nearly 100-year-old park comes after severe weather-related damage in 2014 caused by a tornado and subsequent flooding events caused delays in reconstruction.

With an investment of over $1.8 million, Ideal Park, 5843 Crippen Ave SW, features improved parking and enhanced safety features, Buck Creek viewing stations, a universally accessible playground, Wyoming’s first rope enhanced play structure, a rubberized play surface and an opportunity for children to imagine they’re flying with Wyoming’s special butterfly play feature, the first of its kind in Wyoming’s park system.

“We are thrilled to reopen Ideal Park for our residents, especially in this neighborhood that has been hit so hard by severe weather,” Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll said. “We pride ourselves on excellent facilities and know that the improved accessibility of Ideal will be a great asset to the families of our community. The redevelopment has been long awaited by the community as the park is a premier space for reservations for large groups.”

Funding for the project was initiated through a $300,000 Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant, a program administered by the state of Michigan Department of Natural Resources, with the remaining funds invested through the city’s parks and recreation operational millage.

Project costs were influenced by the park’s location along Buck Creek and impacts from previous tornadoes and floods. Rebecca Rynbrandt, Wyoming’s director of community services, noted the site is highly complex due to locations of wetlands within the construction area and that the development falls within the flood plain and floodway. Because of the complexity, higher levels of design and engineering were required.

“The state of Michigan; its Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy; and Department of Natural Resources, have worked alongside the city to return playgrounds and recreation resources back to Ideal Park through funding support and their construction expertise,” Rynbrandt said.

Due to restrictions on large gatherings due to COVID-19, the city was unable to host a large scale public grand opening event. A press conference featuring Sam Cummings, managing partner of CWD Real Estate Investment and chair of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board; Ron Olson, chief of the Parks and Recreation Division of the state of Michigan Department of Natural Resources; and Doug Wustman, chairperson of the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Commission, was held Tuesday.

Ideal Park was initially developed in the 1930s prior to the incorporation of the city of Wyoming and is one of the oldest parks within the city. The park also has historic structures including an art deco style bridge, a log cabin lodge and stone structures. The park now includes improved walking and bike trail connection to the city’s interurban trail system.

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