After years in the making, the North Grand River Riverfront Park is almost complete. Located behind the Walgreens at the corner of Bowes Road and Fulton Street in Lowell Charter Township, the approximately $5 million project has been funded almost entirely by grant money and private donations.
A highlight of the park is a bridge spanning the Grand River to connect it to the existing Grand River Riverfront Park on the south side of the river. Although the bridge span is complete, Lowell Charter Township Supervisor Jerry Hale says it isn’t open to the public yet. Crews are still working to complete the approach to the bridge, and the pathway leading to it also needs to be paved.
However, Hale anticipates we are only about a month away from the grand opening of the park which should happen near the end of June.
Weather Delays Pickleball Courts
Another significant feature of the park is the pickleball courts near the parking lot. While almost complete, the weather hasn’t cooperated with finishing the playing surface. “We need mid-60s weather and no rain,” Hale says.
Once the courts are done and nets put up, the public is welcome to use them at any time. A timer for lighting will be accessible for those who want to play early or later in the day. While there is no charge or for individuals and families to use the courts, Hale says those who want to use them for fitness classes, private instruction or a similar use should contact the township hall to reserve the courts and pay a fee.
Don and Betty Yeiter Learning Cabin to Teach Local History
The new park is about more than having fun though. There is also a learning component. The Don and Betty Yeiter Learning Cabin – named in honor of the couple’s generous donation to make it possible – is a replica fur trading post.
“The cabin is an interpretive center designed to showcase this exciting chapter of Lowell’s past,” explains Lisa Plank, executive director of the Lowell Area Historical Museum. The museum will use the cabin to present information and exhibits about the history of fur trading in Lowell. In particular, residents can expect to learn more about Magdelaine LaFramboise, one of the most successful early fur traders in the area.
In addition to historical displays and programs, Hale says the cabin will be available for those looking to rent out a meeting space. It will hold up to 30 people at a time.
Fundraising Remains, Events Ahead
While most of the major components of the North Grand River Riverfront Park will be ready for this summer’s grand opening, the township is still working to raise money for some finishing touches. About $160,000-$180,000 is needed to finish a boardwalk near the river that will run to a disc golf course, Hale says.
Despite that, the park should be ready for summer activities and events this year. Already, visitors to the park have been using the playground set and gaga pit that’s onsite. And the township expects an influx of visitors during the Pink Arrow Community Day which is moving to the west end of town for 2019.
Lowell’s First Look will have more information on that event and the park progress in the weeks to come.