By Bob Gross
ST. CLAIR TWP. – Residents will be celebrating a new playground that offers something for everyone. St. Clair Township will have a grand opening for a universal access playground at noon Oct. 25 at Fred Meiselbach Park, 1539 S. Bartlett Road next to the Pine River.
“It’s a new section we have created,” said Mike Boulier, township supervisor. “It’s a new universal access playground.”
He said the township was approached by an engineering firm about creating the new playground.
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“The bard thought it would be a great idea benefitting children, not just in St. Clair Township, but in St. Clair County as a whole,” Boulier said.
The new play area includes a “poured-in-place” surface with recycled rubber for wheelchair access. It also has a wheelchair glider, a face-to-face friendship swing, a dome for climbing and hiding and activity panels.
“We got a real neat thing over there where they can ramp up and it’s like a swing,” Boulier said.
The project was funded in part by a $75,000 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Recreation Passport Grant. The total cost was $164,000.
“Our part came from the capital improvements fund,” Boulier said. “We just thought it was a great place to use it.”
The project includes a new asphalt pathway to provide access to the new play area. By the end of the year, the township will have added solar-powered LED lights along the pathway.
Boulier said the township applied for the state grant in 2018.
“It’s been a long process, obviously,” he said. “It’s been over a year to get this thing completed.”
Boulier said people already have been using the playground.
“I have had a lot of people comment on it,” he said. “They really think it’s great.”
He said people seem to like the new playground.
“We’ve heard nothing negative about it at all,” he said. “It’s been discussed quite a bit at our board meetings.
“I think it’s going to be a great asset for the whole community and the whole county.”
According to information from the township, universal access design means allowing everyone, including people with very limited abilities, the means to enjoy all provided recreation opportunities.
Bob Gross has been a journalist for 40 years in Michigan and Wyoming. He has covered subjects ranging from agriculture to zoology. He most recently covered courts and police for the Port Huron Times Herald.