MCBAIN — Funding is on the way for McBain’s park project.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced McBain would receive $750,000 to improve the city’s municipal park off Pine Street. The funding comes from the MEDC’s Public Gathering Space Initiative, a new program dedicated to funding outdoor recreation projects.
“We’re thrilled,” Roberts said. “This is one of the better programs the state has come out with for parks, and we’re going to be able to redo the entire park out there with this money. This is a big win for us here.”
Roberts said the city would contribute $150,000 to the improvements, bringing the project's total cost up to $900,000. The city has budgeted for the project, but Roberts said they’ll look to do some fundraising for the improvements, too.
Roberts said the city is focused on making it a four-season park and ADA accessible. Their plan includes redoing the basketball and tennis courts, adding pickleball lines to the tennis court, expanding the sand volleyball courts, and adding an in-line skating rink and a multi-generational playground. Roberts said they’ll also add a restroom facility, extra parking and an extra sidewalk leading down to the park.
Roberts said the city saw many people begin utilizing the park for exercising during the pandemic. After seeing that push for people to get outdoors, Roberts said they decided to focus on improving the local park.
“That was one of our big pushes to have a place here in McBain for our residents to be able to do that kind of stuff and to provide something for everyone,” he said. “We can provide something for our youngest and even our older residents.”
Another aspect the city focused on was the downtown businesses. Roberts said they want everything within walking distance, so residents can grab something to eat and visit the park.
“We’ve seen many of our residents go to other areas for recreation, and we wanted to bring that here to McBain,” he said. “So we think this will help our residents with exercise and that stuff, but also our downtown businesses.”
It has been a long process for McBain to obtain this funding. Last winter, Roberts went through a series of classes to engage the city with the MEDC.
This got the city involved with MEDC’s redevelopment-ready community program and gave them the opportunity for financial support. Roberts said they were then able to apply for funding in the spring.
“This was one of the more competitive grants I’ve seen in my time as mayor,” Roberts said. “I mean, we had just about everybody around us apply for this.”
Roberts said the city plans to begin work on the project next spring and early summer and hopes to finish that fall.
A groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremony is also expected to occur during that time.
“I just want to thank the folks at the MEDC,” Roberts said. “They’ve been great to work with. We’re appreciative of this program.”
“And I want to thank our city staff, parks committee and city council. All those folks have had a hand in this, so I appreciate their time and effort. This has been a team effort.”