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Major Changes To Wenonah Park Aren't Necessary!
by Marvin Kusmierz
May 16, 2005

Wenonah Park History
The park was built in 1908 in conjunction with the new Wenonah Hotel, and was completely redone when a storm basin was built there during the decade of the 70s. A new bandshell and the fountain were added later.

Original Wenonah Park
Original features of Wenonah Park included a large covered pavilion with restrooms, and plenty of flowers in the landscaping.

Present Wenonah Park
Present features of Wenonah Park includes the Ring of Friendship fountain, bandshell, and restrooms at the northend.

Planning is underway to make Wenonah Park more useable to the public. Thatís a nice thought, but do we really need to overhaul the whole park to do that?

Wenonah Park looks fine just as it is. Thatís not to say it couldnít benefit from some tweaking that could make it even better, but it doesnít need a major face lift.

My concern was sparked by an article written by Dave Vizard of The Bay City Times that appeared in yesterday's newspaper. He is concerned about talk that the quarter-century old Ring of Friendship fountain may be sacrificed for something new in the park.

I can see adding a small playground area, and a nice rod-iron fence around the park to help control kids from wondering to where they shouldnít be. A fence would also eliminate that unsightly temporary fencing they use for concerts. A few more nice light posts would make it shine at night. They could even take a few feet of the park along the road to make angle parking possible. That area, like many other downtown needs additional parking space.

A covered area providing some protection inclement weather would be nice as well. Possibly the present seating area at the northend would near the restrooms and parking lot would be ideal for spot for this. I can imagine one with open sides and a ceiling made primary of tinted glass.

The park is going to get considerable more use simply because of the new condominiums going up downtown. And, once the east side river walk connects the park to the rest of the river-front, more people will be spending time at the Wenonah Park.

The park should be looked at as a city park, which is quite different than a neighborhood park. It doesnít need a big play area because there are far more adults downtown than kids. A small area with a unique style would do nicely.

Pore trees and perennial flower gardens would be nice, especially on the south end of the park and along the riverís edge. That area could use more lighting, community benches with table tops. Maybe the a narrow-shallow running through that area fed by the Ring of Friendship fountain would give it a unique character and draw more birds to the park. There is something that is warm and friendly when there are plenty of birds present in a park.

But, to dramatically revamp the park would be a horrible mistake, especially when the money could be used to add other attractions to the downtown area.

An eye sore to my eyes are the main arteries leading into the downtown area.

The driver north from Columbus on Washington certainly can use a lot of dressing up. It's in dire need to vegetation to break up the pavement. The area screams out for the need for trees and green areas.

City Hall sits there majestically like an island of green surrounded by cement. The property is much too small for such a large building, and needs to be expanded to enhance it true beauty. Seems to me that closing Ninth Street between Washington and Saginaw for an expanded grounds area would be the way to go. It could provide for a park like area with more trees and sitting area that could be enjoyed by the public and the employees at City Hall.

I think the approached into the downtown area are just as important as make the downtown a warm and inviting place to be. Washington Avenue right now is the main eye-sore, which disconnects itself from the improvements made to the Columbus business district. Iím sure the city planners are already aware of the need to improve this stretch, but it would be nice to see this become a high priority because it will do wonders for City Hall and the museum next door. It might even help improve the eye appeal of the Uptown At Riverís Edge development area.

Bay City is doing so many things right, thatís itís kind of hard to raise to much of a fuss about what is being planned. However, I like what we already have in place at Wenonah Park, and would prefer any new work done there add to what is nice downtown park for visitors, shoppers, and those who will be living in condominiums near the park.

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