Playground improvements proposed at Lake Lansing Park North

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Photo courtesy of Ingham County Parks Director Tim Morgan

Lake Lansing Park North might see improvements to its more than 30-year-old playground in the coming two years. 

Ingham County Parks Director Tim Morgan submitted an authorization to apply for a grant to the Ingham County Human Services Committee on Feb. 28. This grant, as part of the Parks Department 5-Year Master Plan, would go toward playground improvements at Lake Lansing Park North. A public meeting was held Feb. 14 for citizens to provide input for the proposed design.

“It’s vital that we keep a pulse of what our residents’ needs are,” Morgan said. “We also (need to) stay on top of it to make sure that our facilities are not being loved to death, meaning fall into disrepair or need maintenance.”

Morgan asked the Board of Commissioners to approve a $105,000 contingent and $245,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant, totaling $350,000 for the Lake Lansing Park North project. 

A few members of the Human Services Committee had general funding concerns when looking at the number of open projects from the 2021 Ingham County Trails and Park Millage. 

“I just want us to remember that it’s difficult to fund some of the smaller communities if we’re always funding these larger projects,” Chairperson Chris Trubac said. “It is a balancing act.”

If awarded the grant, the Parks Department would be given the money in December. Professional designers and commercial contractors would be hired to work out the layout of the playground. Construction could begin as early as fall of 2023, but more likely spring of 2024. 

“I would like to be optimistic and say fall of 2023, but with the supply chain shortages and the staff shortages and contractors, it’s really hard to schedule out a project anymore,” Morgan said. “Sometimes we’re lucky to get one bidder, let alone two bidders on projects anymore.”

The design incorporates two areas separated by a concrete path. One side would be for younger children and the other for older children. The wooden playground would l be removed to make way for newer equipment such as a rubber safety surface, geotextile fabric and new benches.

Haslett resident Lori Warren used to take her children to Lake Lansing North when they were younger, and she remembers the current playground.

“I believe the existing play structure is in more of a wooded area,” Warren said. “It is older, but the trees around it would provide shade on a really hot summer day.”

Warren said, from a parent perspective, the plans for the new playground are nice, but she pointed out the practicality of the current wooded area.

“It just might be hot in the summer without more shade,” Warren said. “It would be nice for parents if they provided benches to sit on also.”

Morgan said the plans reflect public need.

“We’ve seen a lot more use most recently,” Morgan said. “So it’s even more critical and more important that we stay attuned to what the needs are of our residents.”

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