Video/Story by Joseph Khalil
Bath-Dewitt Connection staff writer
The Wiswasser Memorial Park was officially opened to the public last weekend, Sept. 17, after six years of meetings, planning and building. The Park is the only park of its kind in the Lansing area.
Nola Parkey, president of the local non-profit organization Friends of Park Lake, says Wiswasser Memorial is unique because it is 90 percent accessible for children with disabilities.
“Entire families can come and they won’t have to worry that somebody is going to be left out,” said Parkey, “That’s what we were shooting for.”
Friends of Park Lake began the project by partnering with the township board and began fundraising in 2005, said Parkey. In a joint effort, the township formed the Barrier Free Playground Committee that worked with Friends of Park Lake to turn the idea of an accessible park into a reality, Parkey said.
Last weekend the township asked Bath residents to volunteer for a community build to assist the building company in putting the finishing touches on the park, said Jeff Garrity, the Bath Township treasurer. Parkey was impressed with the turnout of volunteers.
“We had something like 150 volunteers over three days. For a small town like this, that’s amazing,” Parkey said.
One of those volunteers was Heather Mann, who is actually a DeWitt resident but grew up in Bath. She recognized the great need to build a park like Wiswasser in the community.
“Bath doesn’t have any other parks,” Mann said. “There’s this and the school playground but this is even better than the school playground.” Mann says the addition will strengthen the sense of community among families in Bath Township.
The park is on Park Lake Road, on the north side of Park Lake. Though it is in Bath, the park is open to all. Parkey says Friends of Park Lake hopes that this park will serve as a community builder for the smaller towns in the greater Lansing area.