Makeover continues for Farwell park

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

The Village Park in downtown Farwell has a new look this year and even more renovations are being planned for the gathering place.

The Farwell Park is a 1.43 acre park that shares its downtown site with the Village of Farwell Hall. The park is bounded on the north by M-115 (Main Street) and by the Pere Marquette Rail Trail on the south and is the site for festivals and special events every year from spring through fall.

New walkways are now in use, the first part of an extensive rerenovation for the Farwell Village Park. The next phase will update the playground equipment.

New walkways are now in use, the first part of an extensive rerenovation for the Farwell Village Park. The next phase will update the playground equipment.

Tracy Lee, Treasurer of the Village said, “The Village of Farwell has been busy updating the Park. We have a few stages approved and will be receiving three grants from the Department of Natural Resources and one from the Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation.”

Phase I improvements completed so far are a walkway from South Hall to South Superior and a landscaped area that will hold a “solar panel information center.”
“We hope everyone is enjoying the new updates,” Lee said. “We are now starting on Phase II – Part One with … Placemaking improvements to the playground.” She said the playground will be completely renovated.

“Part one of the Phase II of the park improvements will build on Phase I’s improvements to handicapped accessibility through path construction and [enhancement of] its capabilities to function as a host location for Village events,” Lee said.

Tustyn Yarger provided music for the event.

Tustyn Yarger provided music for the event.

Already new events are planned and underway in the park. September 15 the Village hosted their second annual Food Truck Night in the Park. The first event was held August 9th. Two local food trucks were on hand as well as a local musician for entertainment. The Patty Wagon, operated by Jeff and Christina Linton and a second wagon operated by Becky Hilyard as well as Local Musician Tustyn Yarger were on hand for the event. Both the Lintons and Hilyard sometimes have their food wagons at the Farwell Farmers Market (held on the corner of S. Hall and Illinois Streets) from 9-2 on Saturdays through October 21st.

Lee said they are planning on expanding the Food Truck Night events in the park next spring and summer.

She said the first part of playground improvements in Phase II of the renovations to the Village Park will add handicapped accessible equipment, bring the existing playground equipment closer together, add age-focused equipment, improve safety and add landscaping and benches and street furniture for families with children.

The second part of Phase II will update the picnic area, making it handicapped accessible and add an accessible parking area just east of the picnic area. Crushed stone will be added for accessibility and universally accessible tables will be installed. The renovations will include improvements to the park pavilion and accessible modification will be made to the existing restrooms. New lighting and landscaping is also included.

Total estimated costs for the Village Park improvements in progress now are $123,000. Grant amounts include: a MDNR Trust Fund Grant of $25,000 with a Village appropriation of $25,000 and in-kind totaling $5,000 from the Village for a total of $55,000; A grant from Friends of Clare County Parks and Recreation for $2,000; a MDNR Regional Passport Grant of $45,000 with a Village appropriation of $15,000 for a total of $60,000; and a MDNR Land & Water Conservation Grant of $30,000 with a Village appropriation of $25,000 plus $5,000 in-kind for a total of $60,000.

Fundraising is underway to help raise money for additional improvements to the park renovations. Future plans are for another walkway from Main Street to the Rail Trail, a new Veterans’ Memorial and a Welcome area at the entrance to the park on Main Street. They have raise about $800 in additional funds and t-shirts are currently available in many sizes and colors for $20 each at the Village Office, with the monies raised to go towards the park projects.

For more information about the project, to donate or to order shirts, contact the Village at (989) 588-9926.

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