Thursday, May 23, 2024

Local park to be renovated

October 4, 2000

Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Valley Court Park voted Thursday on a renovation plan that will preserve the park as much as possible.

Community members decided upon the first plan presented, which retains most of the park’s configuration and space.

Lori VanOmmeren, urban designer and community analyst for the city, said the plan was chosen entirely by the community, not by the planning commission.

“This idea of having several different choices of plans was to get a feeling for what sort of improvements the community had in mind for the park,” VanOmmeren said. “I think the first plan was chosen because it won’t change the park all that much and it will probably be the best for the budget.”

Some of the improvements include a definite separation between the park and parking lots, pedestrian walkways, a new Delta Street entrance, a parking lot added between Abbott Road and Evergreen Avenue and more playground equipment.

Judy Merchant, co-president of the Oakwood Historic Neighborhood Association, said she is pleased with the decision.

“I am glad we decided on the plan that will restore the park’s green space and street configuration like it was at the turn of the century,” Merchant said. “The other plans chopped up the space and divided it with parking spots.”

Residents expressed concerns such as making sure the park and parking lots are properly separated as well as the park being blocked.

“We are concerned that the view and access to the park will be blocked with the parking lots and the way they form around the perimeter of the park,” Merchant said. “Parks are such assets to communities because they promote healthy activities and community gatherings.”

One group that may be affected by the park renovation is the Peoples Church of East Lansing, 200 W. Grand River Ave. The church parking lot backs up to the park.

Senior Pastor Harry Johnson said he hasn’t noticed parking to be much of a problem at the church.

“If the city intends for Valley Court Park to be a city park, more adequate parking is going to be needed,” he said. “We have found our neighbors and the city to be good neighbors, and we hope that we have been also.”

Johnson said the church has not taken a stand on whether they support the renovation or not, but said he thinks the parking issue will not affect the church negatively.

The renovation will not begin until the planning commission discusses it at the next meeting, which a date has not yet been set for.


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