By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – A new public park at Southgate Tower and a pedestrian bridge over Trenton Road, leading to Kiwanis Park, will be built using $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Wayne County is providing the ARPA funds through an Intergovernmental Agreement.
City Administrator Dan Marsh said in a Dec. 28 memo to the City Council that the park and pedestrian bridge will be a transformative addition to the community.
“The park will be located on the western side of the Southgate Tower property, and the design includes pickleball courts, a walking path, an outdoor fitness circuit, putting greens, pavilions and extensive landscaping,” he said. “The project includes a pedestrian bridge that will span Trenton Road, increasing accessibility to the new park space and connectivity to the Kiwanis Train Park.”
Marsh said the new pedestrian bridge will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mayor Joseph Kuspa said the existing pedestrian walkway across Dix-Toledo Road represents 1960s technology and is not ADA compliant, and enough property does not exist, especially on the east side, to make it compliant.
City Engineer John Hennessey said the new pedestrian bridge over Trenton Road will have a camber — a convex shape — to it, which prevents rain water from ponding on it and allows water to drain off quickly.
He said the pedestrian bridge walkway has an epoxy surface with a greater coefficient of friction than older designs. There is also enough land on either side of the pedestrian bridge to allow for an ADA compliant rampway.
“I think it’s going to be a great bridge, and it is nice that we qualify for a Wayne County ARPA project,” Hennessey said.
Marsh said a unique and exciting aspect of the project is that Southgate Towers LLC will maintain the public park space.
“It will be a great benefit for the residents of Southgate Tower and it will be a great benefit to the residents of Southgate who don’t live in the apartments,” he said.
Marsh said that while it is not part of the park development, he said he believes the developer will be adding electric vehicle charging stations as part of the parking in the area.
Kuspa said they are looking for funding for charging stations and there was some talk about locating them where the former bank drive-through lanes were located.
Marsh said the park should be completed by October 2025, and indicated that the city will work closely with Alex Begin from Southgate Tower LLC and his design team on the project.
Plans are concurrently underway for the renovation of the 14-story Southgate Tower, which sits on 11.88 acres and is the tallest building Downriver, which will be renovated into 201 residential units.
The city has approved a Brownfield Plan of $3.86 million in Tax Incremental Financing, which, in conjunction with a $1.2 million loan from the Downriver Community Conference, will help supplement the $40 million Southgate Tower LLC project, which includes asbestos abatement.