Building 2020 green: Outdoor and green space projects to watch in Midland

The benefits of outdoor green spaces are plenty, from increased creativity and happiness to reduced levels of stress and anxiety.  Whether urban or rural, expansive or compact – green spaces have a positive effect on us.

Midland has some significant projects in the works, many breaking ground or reaching key milestones in 2020.

Here are four outdoor spaces the Catalyst Midland team is watching develop this year.

The next generation of Grove Park
As Midtown’s evolution has taken shape over the last few years, revamping Grove Park soon became a topic, with a new master plan for Grove Park developed from the listening session in January 2019.

“Preparing for Grove Park’s renovation was really fun because we received some truly great public input for this process,” says Karen Murphy, Director of Public Services for the City of Midland. “People had great ideas and were really engaged in the future development of this park, which makes moving forward with implementation of the plan all the more exciting!”

The resulting master plan was developed by Pam Blough of PM Blough Inc., a landscape architecture and planning firm, and approved by the city in April 2019.

The renovation includes expanded parking, a performance area, a wider sidewalk area that will be able to accommodate food trucks and events, upgraded lawn spaces, new lighting, additional plant shading and screening, a new basketball court, an updated gazebo and a new play area, among other plans.

The Grove Park master plan. Construction will start on phase one this April. (PC: City of Midland)

In total, the full master plan will cost $1.4 million to construct and span multiple years of work. For the first phase, Midland Noon Rotary has pledged $160,000 for renovations of the Rodd/Grove quadrant and Memorial Presbyterian Church has pledged $7,500 for a component as well. Funds will go specifically towards the new basketball court, playground, ADA accessible sidewalks and more.

The Rodd/Grove quadrant’s phase of the project will begin in April 2020 and wrap up by the middle of June in preparation for the Midland Noon Rotary’s Centennial Anniversary Picnic, which will be held in the park. In Midland Rotary’s 100 years of operation, the donation to Grove Park is believed to be the largest gift ever given to the community, making it even more of a special birthday milestone.

“We look forward to seeing the evolution of Grove Park as a resource for the community and are excited to see the first phase take shape this spring,” says Sharon Mortensen, President of the Midland Noon Rotary. “The project will touch the lives of many of our neighbors, particularly with the work that will be done in the youth-focused section. The rich history of Grove Park and the revitalization of this area of town makes this an ideal area for Midland Rotary’s gift.”

The City of Midland will continue to seek additional funding partners to complete the remainder of the project.

Rocks – Midtown’s upcoming rooftop cocktail spot
Jamie Broderick, half of Midtown’s makeover and real estate power couple in Bricks Real Estate and mastermind behind the soon to be cocktail and brunch spot Rocks, has spent the last few months shaping up plans for the upcoming build.

Rocks will add two stories on top of the existing building footprint.

“We’ve worked through most of the design and have come up with a working budget for construction,” says Broderick. “So much inspiration and work has gone into this project so far, I’m excited to get started soon.”

Broderick hopes to have additional plans to share in the coming weeks, and is currently working on finalizing artistic renderings, financing and filing for specific variances needed from the city.

For now, Broderick can confirm the build will be two levels with outdoor, rooftop seating.

Outdoor rooftop plans for Rocks, which will break ground this spring.

“I am finalizing the work with Three Rivers now and hope to have a better design sneak peek to share at some point,” she says.

Broderick aims to start construction on Rocks in the spring, with completion targeted for this year. She hopes that Rocks will still host a grand opening in 2020 even if the project is delayed by a month or so.

Main Street Plaza under the Poseyville Road Bridge
The Michigan Baseball Foundation is in the final stretch of redevelopment plans for programming, food trucks, a gathering space and more at the base of the Poseyville Road Bridge near East End. The space will soon be a prime spot for events and serves to better connect several downtown amenities.

“As far as completion goes, we are on a timeline with Mother Nature to some extent, as there are a few things that still need to be completed for concrete finishing and other infrastructure needs,” says Michelle Pilaske, Director of Communications & Programs for the Michigan Baseball Foundation.

“We hope to be as close to Memorial Day as we can for the space to be ready to use,” she says.

In 2020 you'll see additional spaces to gather for lunch at a local food truck or places to meet friends.

From a planning perspective, the City of Midland and the Downtown Development Authority are working to set parameters for programming and use of the space. Options under review include the possibility for festivals, markets, weekday lunchtime activities, group gatherings, live music, partnerships with other local businesses, food trucks and other programming.

Once parameters are set, the Michigan Baseball Foundation will be working towards specific events and schedules.

Poseyville Riverside Park
Initially dubbed the Poseyville Riverside Park, the project has been in the concept and regulatory approval phase for a while after being awarded $1 million in funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2014. The project will give life to the former 4D concrete manufacturing site on River Road, on the vacant lots flanking the Poseyville Road bridge located just south of Downtown Midland.

Poseyville Riverside Park will start the first phase in 2020.

The next steps for the near future will involve getting new estimates completed for the project scope, as the previous bids were from 2015. Phase one will involve reclamation of the site and surrounding wetland restoration, among other plans.

The second phase of the project involves development of public green space, a pedestrian bridge and a trail system that will connect the space to the Tridge. In total, the project will connect the space to East End and Downtown Midland, adding over a mile of walkable, bikeable trails and green space.

The future site of Poseyville Riverside Park, with East End and Dow Diamond in the background.

“We are excited to have the increased connection from the property to downtown,” says Pilaske. “After reclamation is completed we will begin the foot path, likely in 2021.”

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Read more articles by Courtney Soule.

Courtney is a longtime Midland resident and enjoys telling the story of the community's evolution. She ran Catalyst Midland as the publication's managing editor from October 2017 through September 2020. Her favorite topics are interesting people, change makers, outdoor recreation and design. Aside from Catalyst, her published work can be found various places including Elephant Journal, Thought Catalog and a number of other websites, papers, menus and the occasional one-liner.