Getting outside and being active are key ingredients to living healthy lives. We consider ourselves very lucky to have the ability to design projects that contribute to a more active society. Our contribution to recreation design is a collaborative effort from professionals throughout our company—including our architects, civil engineers, landscape architects, structural engineers and transportation professionals. Fishing piers, non-motorized paths, pedestrian bridges, wildlife viewing platforms, playgrounds, and parks—these are the man-made features that help society forget about the normal worries of life and keep people of all ages and abilities active. These amenities provide access to nature and promote a healthy soul. The sounds of children playing, birds chirping, and waves crashing are some of the most appealing senses available—and our professionals are experts at providing fun, safe and universally accessible access to them.
Spicer Group worked together with MDOT and eight different municipalities in Arenac and Iosco counties to develop a conceptual plan for a 38.7-mile multi-use recreational pathway. The purpose of this plan was to identify the location of the pathway along with alternative routes based on historically significant areas, natural features, geographic qualities, and proposed links.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design guidelines were used during the development of the route to ensure that the pathway could feasibly fit into the proposed locations. The work included conducting meetings with the existing Sunrise Side Pathway committee and coordinating the participation of each of the committee members. The project was awarded a $660,000 MDOT-TE grant which helped fund the final design and construction of three miles of the path. Spicer Group was responsible for completing the grant application, final design, survey and construction administration.
The Frank N. Andersen Recreational Complex is a universally accessible facility located in Liberty Park in Bridgeport Township that exceeds Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. It boasts a universally-designed multi-purpose field, family-style restrooms, entry tower, parking areas, and pathways linking to other park facilities and the surrounding community.
The complex was developed with support from a $500,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant and another $600,000 that was raised by Bridgeport Township. The complex serves the entire Great Lakes Bay Region, which has more then 63,000 special-needs children over the age of five according to the 2006 U.S. Census statistics. This number supports the need for such a well-rounded facility in the area, whose population of the disabled is slightly higher than most communities in Michigan.
This recreational complex is the only one of its kind in Michigan. And while ADA-accessible facilities are not new to Michigan, this project is the first universally-designed facility specifically created and built for multi-sports and events. Spicer Group was responsible for the design and construction administration on this $1.5 million facility.
Spicer Group has been working to connect communities along the Cass River by water trail. The first project, a canoe launch located at Heritage Park in Frankenmuth, is a floating dock specially designed to be ADA-accessible. It is one of the first universally-accessible canoe launches in the state. The Frankenmuth project included a gravel parking lot and pathway to the launch.
Spicer Group has been a part of the project since 2010, and worked on the DEQ permitting, final design and construction administration. In the future, the Cass River Greenway Committee plans to extend the water trail to other communities along the Cass River, such as the City of Vassar, Bridgeport, and even as far north as Cass City.
While working with Kochville Township on updating their recreation master plan, it was identified that there was a definite need for a multi-use recreation trail within the community. This was supported through input by township officials, Saginaw Valley State University administrators and local residents. Spicer Group prepared a Michigan Department Of Transportation Transportation Enhancement grant applications to seek funding for the trail—which was subsequently awarded for nearly $300,000. Spicer was also responsible for the design and construction administration of the 4.5 mile path that was implemented soon after.
The path is a popular destination for both residents and visitors and is also heavily used by students from the nearby university. It provides safe access for users of all abilities to the township’s rural beauties as well as the busy downtown shopping district including another path that wraps around a large lake and playground near a Super Wal-Mart. The path is currently being extended into nearby Saginaw Charter Township, which provides a key link to the award-winning 10-mile Saginaw Valley Rail Trail.
Pinconning Park is located along the shoreline of the Saginaw Bay and offers visitors many recreation opportunities including camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and hiking. One of its main issues was that accessibility to these opportunities was very limited. Bay County hired Spicer Group to design improvements that made the park more universally-accessible, and oversee actual construction of the improvement tasks. Key universally-accessible amenities that were in the design included the following:
Accessible walking path
Boardwalk through wetland area
Accessible path to Pinconning River
Access to waterfront
A floating fishing platform
An archery range
A fishing platform on the Pinconning River
Design of cabin improvements, that include concrete pad, picnic tables and beds
Spicer Group was hired by the Friends of the Bay City State Recreation Area to rehabilitate the Tobico Towers, located in the Bay City State Recreation area in Bangor Township. The project included final design and bidding.
Upgrades to the towers included structural improvements, deck replacement, added handrails, and the addition of metal mesh to the railings. All of these improvements made the towers much safer and brought them up to all codes and regulations.
Both towers are four-stories, 75-feet-tall and have 20-foot by 20-foot viewing platforms at the top. They are located along the trails of the Tobico Marsh, a 1,848-acre wildlife refuge that has both paved and wooded trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing.
Imerman Park is located along the Tittabawassee River in Saginaw County. Years of flooding and erosion had caused the park’s riverbank to become unstable and unsafe for visitors. Spicer Group designed improvements that included bank stabilization, the construction of a new barrier-free canoe launch, and a 96-foot-long barrier-free fishing dock that adapts to changing river levels.
The improvements were a significant enhancement to the park and provide a long-lasting foundation for an existing pavilion that was in danger of collapsing due to the previous state of the riverbank. Spicer also provided construction administration.
The Pere Marquette Rail Trail in Midland County is part of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail system that extends approximately 75 miles from Midland to Reed City. It is one of the most heavily used trails in Michigan. Along with repaving two miles of the trail between Barden and Alamando Roads, Midland County added a trailhead and rest stop at the Averill Rollway, a significant historical spot on the Tittabawassee River, which served as a huge lumbering rollway in the 1870’s and 1880’s.
The Averill Rollway trailhead and rest stop includes a picnic pavilion, tables, trash receptacle, bike racks, interpretive signs and parking for 11 vehicles. All elements were designed for equitable use and can accommodate people of all abilities.
Spicer Group assisted Midland County with writing the grant to obtain the funds for this project, along with grant administration, design and construction administration.
Spicer provided engineering and landscape architectural designs services for unique additions and renovations at the popular Dow Gardens in Midland, MI. The project was an effort to provided better universal access to visitors of all ages and abilities. Key improvements included: an, a waterfall, planting of native vegetation, a viewing platform constructed out of decorative limestone and wood, and a natural limestone seating area.
800-foot accessible exposed aggregate pathway
Planting of native vegetation and landscaping
Limestone and wood viewing platform
Natural limestone seating area
Culvert and land bridge
Limestone slab edging along pond
Aerating fountain in pond
Additional parking area with 20 spaces
Connecting driveway between parking area
Walkway from parking lot to office
Catch basin for on-site storm water storage
Stanton Park is located in the City of Stanton along the Meijer Trail. Originally, the City had a preliminary site concept plan for improvements to Stanton Park but hired Spicer Group to explore additional possibilities. Some of the items that were in question included new pavilions, a new path, bench and picnic table type, the playground surface material, irrigation, lighting and the proposed plantings.
Spicer assisted the City in narrowing the ideas down into one final goal which included designing the site into an enjoyable and accessible park with abundant playground structures for kids of all ages and abilities. Spicer was responsible for the survey, final design and construction inspection.
The City of Belleville recently completed improvements to Horizon Park, the City’s only public access to the 1,270-acre Belleville Lake. Prior to the waterfront improvements at the lake, the park lacked a safe and easy way to visit the City by boat. The existing dock was too high and designated boat docking was very limited.
After successfully applying for and receiving a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant in the amount of $120,700, the City’s DDA contracted with Spicer Group to develop designs for a new boardwalk, ADA-accessible boat docking and accessible canoe/kayak launches.
The new dock is a floating structure attached to the existing boardwalk and is designed to leave the other lakeshore area of the park in an open and natural state. This design minimized the impact from development and includes a gangway that leads down to the boat docks and canoe/kayak launch.
The floating canoe/kayak launch is wide enough for wheelchair maneuverability, has a transfer assistance system, slide-in canoe/kayak rack, and a roller system to maneuver a canoe or kayak into the water.
The Looking Glass River that flows through the central region of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is about 71 miles long, has no dams, and borders many wetlands and woodlots. It is a natural greenway that is a quiet oasis in suburban DeWitt and DeWitt Township and provides visitors the opportunity for wildlife viewing, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
Spicer Group was hired by both the City and Township to design new universally-accessible canoe/kayak launches, along with shoreline stabilization, interpretive sign, access path, and parking improvements. Spicer also provided grant writing/administration and construction inspection/administration.
The City used an awarded grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to pay for the improvements in the amount of $64,400. The Township used an awarded grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund in the amount of $78,000, to pay for the improvements.
Canoers and kayakers now have two easy-in and easy-out launches for accessing the Looking Glass River. The floating launches can be used for fishing and nature viewing, as well.
The City of DeWitt and DeWitt Township are working together to create the beginnings of a water trail on the Looking Glass River. Both communities have parks on the Looking Glass River and neither community previously had an accessible canoe/kayak launch.
For many years, the community playground in Merritt Township was home to equipment that was more than two decades old. Updating that equipment became a priority for Township officials in order to provide a safe environment for children to play and revive some life back into the small community’s only park.
In 2013, after a local resident left Merritt Township a portion of his estate to be used for park improvements, Spicer Group assisted Township officials in gaining a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Recreation Passport Grant for $45,000 for a new universally-accessible playground.
Spicer also assisted the Township in designing the new playground, which now has a circular pattern, with separate areas for 2-5 year olds and 5-12 year olds. A new meandering concrete access path was installed to provide separation between the two play areas. In addition to connecting to the parking area and to the existing perimeter path, the meandering pathway also varies in width to accommodate seating areas without impeding the flow of traffic through the play area.
Both sides of the new playground include safety surfacing that is accessible and constructed from poured-in-place rubber and engineered wood fiber. The rubber surfacing was strategically placed in key circulation areas to provide access for ingress and egress on multiple locations of the structures. Some support amenities were also installed, such as benches, trash receptacles, and a bike rack. A basketball drop shot was also installed and new grills were provided near the park’s existing pavilion. Beneath the play area, Spicer’s engineers also designed a drainage system that funnels water to rain gardens adjacent to the play area.
The Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail is a collaborative effort between Bay, Saginaw, and Midland Counties, several municipalities and many local interest groups to construct nearly 40 miles of new pathway and connect nearly 60 miles of existing multi-use trailways. To do this, two abandoned railroad bridges along the portion of the trail extending through Frankenlust Township in Bay County needed updating.
Besides being old, vandals had tried setting both the 207-foot-long and 322-foot long wooden trestle bridges on fire. Spicer structural engineers completed a structural analysis of both bridges, which had not been in use for many years. The inspection and evaluation identified that the structures were capable for re-use as non-motorized pedestrian use and the existing piers, abutments and most of the existing substructures were adequate. However, the decking had to be removed and segments of the substructure needed to be replaced.
The project was awarded the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Development Grant in the amount of $300,000. Spicer Group provided advisory planning services, final design, surveying, grant funding assistance, engineering evaluations/recommendations and construction administration needed to convert the bridges for safe pedestrian travel.
Located at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb, this 600-acre park contains 3 miles of sandy shoreline along Lake Huron. Spicer worked with the DNR to design universal access that would allow access to the park including an elevated boardwalk through a natural dune ecosystem out to Lake Huron for swimming beach access. Fishing access along the Pinnebog River is provided by the construction of new floating dock structure. Spicer was responsible for providing schematic design, final design,bidding assistance and construction administration.
Spicer Group worked with the City of Saginaw to design and implement major improvements to the Ojibway Island area, providing fishing and boating access. Three separate 8’ wide, handicap-accessible floating piers which totaled nearly 1,000’ in length, were designed and constructed to rise and lower with the river’s fluctuating levels. A 108-foot-long floating pier was constructed, consisting of three sections—a 30’ x 8’ section, a 68’ x 10’ section, and a 30’ x 10’end. Four 30’ x 40’ piers were attached to the main section to provide additional dockage.
Spicer worked with Montrose Charter Township to secure $348,500 in grant funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for major improvements at Barber Memorial Park. Spicer provided the design and construction inspection for the installation of universally accessible amenities such as; two new fishing platforms, parking lot improvements, a new concrete boat launch with dock, expansions to the existing paths, a new play structure, restroom, and a new water main that provides fresh drinking water to the park. The platforms float and are designed to rise and lower with the fluctuating river levels and be removed in the winter to minimize ice damage.
The Pere Marquette River in western Michigan is a federally-designated Wild and Scenic River and a statedesignated Natural River. In the 1950’s, a sea lamprey barrier was constructed across the river near the Custer Road Bridge to keep the invasive sea lamprey species out.
In 2010, the barrier site was shut down and fenced off to the general public. In 2013, the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA), a private, not-for-profit corporation committed to stewardship of the land, was awarded more than $200,000 from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust and Great Lakes Fishery Commission to help improve the site.
The CRA hired Spicer Group to oversee the removal of the declining buildings and defunct lamprey barrier at the site and design a new and inviting barrier-free access site to the Pere Marquette River.
Improvements to the site included the construction of new universally-accessible fishing platforms, a new boardwalk beneath the Custer Road Bridge that safely connects the fishing pier to the universal-access boat launch, a universally-accessible canoe/kayak launch, interpretive signing and streambank restoration. Spicer Group provided all design, survey, permitting, and construction inspection tasks for this project.