The Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department have wrapped up the renovations at Wonch Park this month. Residents now enjoy a new set of outdoor fitness equipment, a new perimeter loop pathway, a repaved parking lot and a large mural displayed at the entrance of the park.
“Wonch Park was really one that we needed to get at,” said LuAnn Maisner, director of Parks and Recreation. “It needed some love, it was tired. It’s one of the oldest parks in our community and was important for us to get that taken care of.”
The outdoor fitness equipment has created a great buzz in the community. “Wonch Fitness Zone” contains 12 pieces of freestanding fitness equipment to help individuals work their upper body, lower body, core, and cardiovascular system, and some pieces allow more than one person to use it at the same time.
“It’s a very interesting concept, and I love it,” said Cassandra Burns, a mother of two who lives close to the park. “People have the option to come here in the early morning before the sun rises to enjoy the cooler weather while you workout. I find that to be a fascinating feature.”
A “Go Greenfields” Grant made the project possible. Greenfield Outdoor Fitness, the company that supplied the equipment, was not available for comment.
The park is also one of the main spots for Amtgard, a live-action roleplaying and boffer combat game that uses foam versions of medieval weapons. Meridian township is one of the three Michigan communities that have Amtgard members and players can often be seen at Wonch Park.
“We’ve been out here for five years every Saturday and Sunday to come out here and fight each other,” said Brenden Rhoades, a member of the organization. “We love to have the open field and the surrounding forest, and now we use the pavilion. This is definitely one of the best parks in the area.”
Another addition is the new park mural, which is visible from Okemos Road, was made as a community-painting project at the Celebrate Meridian event in June. Over 200 residents participated in painting a portion of the mural originally designed by local artist Kelly Boyle.
The community supported an additional parks millage in August 2014 for the park.
“We’re very fortunate and Meridian is very fortunate that our community holds quality of life in a very high regard and they’re willing to back it up with funding,” said Maisner, who oversaw the project. “We put a lot of effort in the front end of the planning, so when we went to the voters and asked for an additional park millage, we had a plan. It was very clear that we had a vision for how we wanted our parks to be, and our community shared that vision.”
The community takes pride in the parks, and these new renovations add to the overall aesthetic of this classic Meridian park.
“We definitely love coming here, this is probably one of our favorite parks to visit,” said Burns. “It’s close to our home and we love to be social, my kids love to play with other kids. It’s a really great park.”