Evart DPW working on park upgrades

New color scheme planned for park structures

The Evart city council approved $3,800 in park improvements, including several projects at Riverside West Park and Riverside East Park.

The Evart city council approved $3,800 in park improvements, including several projects at Riverside West Park and Riverside East Park.

Pioneer photo/Olivia Fellows

EVART — The Evart city council approved $3,800 in park improvements to be done by the department of public works staff during its meeting earlier this month.

Department of public works director Don Duncan presented information to the board saying that by doing much of the work themselves, the DPW could save the city around $10,000 over hiring the work done by contractors.

 “I do appreciate the breakdown with the cost avoidance included,” council member Sean Duffy said. “What I am hearing you say is that we are talking about $14,000 in park improvements that we will be getting for a fraction of those costs by using our DPW.”

Duncan added the $3,800 is just for supplies and materials, and there will be labor costs, but those costs would be incurred anyway, as the work will be done during regular working hours.

“I think it is good that it shows the community we are improving things and we are utilizing our own people to do it,” Duncan said. “I think we will put a little more care into what we do, as well.”

One of the projects to be undertaken is stump removal in Riverside West Park and Riverside East Park.

During his presentation, Duncan told the council there are damaged trees that have just been left and there are stumps that have been there for several years.

“What we are dealing with is the stuff right outside the pavilion (at Riverside West Park),” Duncan said. “This is an obstacle for everyone out there, so this is one I would really like to tackle.”

At Riverside East Park, many tree have been removed that were in areas where they could possibly fall on vehicles or individuals, he said.

“There is one left that is leaning over the bathroom pavilion area,” he added. “That one is harder to get to, so we will need to have help getting it down, but that will be getting done. There are also three stumps in the camping area and the open filed where people play that will be removed.”

In addition, he said, the bridge at the back of the property has some issues that will be addressed.

“The bridge is currently in rough shape,” Duncan said. “There are 23 boards that will need to be replaced. That will be done by our department.”

They are also looking at repairing the basketball court and volleyball court at Riverside West Park, Duncan said, including a Wildcat theme on the basketball backboards and covering the volleyball court posts with a soft material so the players don’t get hurt.

“Our plan will be to try to use our resources along with community involvement,” he said. “The basketball teams have volunteered to help with the basketball court and the volleyball teams with the volleyball court. If you include all the kids that play, I think we could have a lot of help and a lot of involvement. The principals agreed we could post the information at the schools and all the kids could see that they and their classmates put something together in the parks that they can use.”

Other improvements include new signage reminding people that dogs must be on a leash, and they need to clean up after their pets; repair to the bike rack at Riverside East Park; and new paint.

“The color scheme is another topic that the committee deemed was something we should focus on,” Duncan said. “Right now, we have a lot of colors, but not really a color theme. The committee decided we should repaint our structures using the city’s new color scheme.”

In addition, building roofs have been replaced with steel roofing, which is a very good improvement, he said.

Some of the improvements have already been completed, while others will be done in the coming weeks.

Park Information

Riverside Park West: Riverside Park West is located in the Southeast corner of the city, along the Muskegon River, where residents can enjoy the riverside walking trail as well as boat and canoe access via a ramp.  This 17-acre park offers many active recreation facilities including a splash pad, beach volleyball, shuffleboard courts, a basketball court, baseball fields, two playground areas, two pavilions, forty- six picnic tables, and two drinking fountains. Due to repeated flooding, the campground at Riverside West is no longer in operation.   Viewing and fishing platforms are another addition to the park.  

Riverside Park East: Riverside Park East, a 33-acre park purchased in 2003 with a Natural Resources Trust Fund grant is located in the southeast corner of the city, directly across the Muskegon River from Riverside Park West.  This partially wooded park features a trail-loop used frequently by walkers, joggers, bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.  During the winter months the trail is frequented by skiers, and show-shoers.  A foot bridge and viewing platform are also enjoyed by park-users. Additionally the park features primitive camp sites and a new pavilion structure.

Cant Hook Park: Cant Hook Park is a mini park located in the heart of downtown Evart. Erected in 2015 Cant Hook Park offers a picnic pavilion, bathrooms, and picturesque views of downtown Evart.

Evart Skate Park: The Evart Skate Park was first opened in 2005 to provide seasonal skateboarding, rollerblading, and BMX biking for area residents.  The fenced-in 33’ x 102’ park features several ramps, a grind rail, benches, picnic tables, and is surrounded by a large open lawn slated for possible future development.

Guyton Park: This quaint 0.40-acre park, located on a corner-lot within the northern edge of the City’s central business district, is named after the first soldier killed in World War I, on foreign soil.  The park offers passive recreational uses and features a cannon dating back to WWI, and a monument to the memory of all who lost their lives from Evart during WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam conflict. 
Heritage Park:

Heritage Park: This 0.75-acre passive park is located on the west end of the City and provides area residents with an ideal picnicking location.  It is used frequently by people attending events at the Osceola County Fairgrounds, as it is located directly across from fairgrounds camping and parking.