Stories indexed with the term ‘swirl concentrator’

Major Renovation of City Ballfields Planned

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Jan. 24, 2012): Baseball fields in three city parks will be getting a major overhaul, if the Ann Arbor city council approves a recent recommendation by park commissioners.

Baseball field #4 at Veterans Memorial Park

Baseball field #4 at Veterans Memorial Park will be among fields at three parks that will be renovated, if the Ann Arbor city council approves a recommendation of the park advisory commission. (Photos by the writer.)

PAC unanimously recommended awarding a nearly $1 million contract to RMD Holdings of Chesterfield, Michigan, for renovation of ballfields at Veterans Memorial Park, West Park and Southeast Area Park. If approved by the city council, work would begin after the 2012 summer season. Ann Arbor Rec & Ed – a unit of the Ann Arbor Public Schools – plans to cancel its fall season in light of the project. Teams playing in Rec & Ed programs are the primary users of these fields.

Commissioners also got an update on the status of West Park renovations – specifically, how problems with an underground stormwater system are being addressed. City engineer Nick Hutchinson described plans for repairing the system, saying that legal issues are still being worked out, but the project will likely be completed by July of 2012. A public forum will be held on Feb. 13 at Slauson Middle School to update residents. At a similar meeting held in mid-January, residents raised concerns over whether the situation in West Park has caused flooding in nearby basements.

Also at PAC’s Jan. 24 meeting, commissioner Gwen Nystuen urged the group to consider taking action on the Allen Creek greenway, in light of remarks made by mayor John Hieftje at the city council’s Jan. 23 meeting regarding the city-owned 415 W. Washington property. Colin Smith, the city’s manager of parks and recreation, reported that there’s been discussion about possibly applying for a state grant to help fund the greenway, but the timeline for applying this year is tight. He also suggested that an initial step would be to develop a master plan for the greenway, as recommended in the city’s parks, recreation and open space plan.

Near the beginning of the meeting, commissioner Sam Offen introduced the new executive director for the Leslie Science & Nature Center, Susan Westhoff, who spoke briefly to commissioners. Offen is a board member of the center, a nonprofit that’s located on city property. [Full Story]

Bandshell Shows Outshine West Park Woes

In February of 2011, Craig Hupy, head of systems planning for the city of Ann Arbor, delivered some grim news to the city’s park advisory commission. Newly installed underground swirl concentrators in the park – four each near the north and south entrances of the park off Seventh Street – were in some state of failure or were suspected to be on the verge of failing.


Russ Schwartz in the role of Iago in the Penny Seats Theatre Company's current comedic production in West Park of "Goodnight, Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet)." Not a line from the play: "Tis I who'll mop the water up, before it flows to Allen Creek." (Photos by the writer.)

The swirl concentrators, which help remove suspended solids from water entering the city’s stormwater system, were a part of major renovations to the park’s landscaping and draining systems. Federal stimulus funds helped pay for much of the work.

A recent city staff memo indicates that the city expects to recover any additional costs due to the failures – either from the manufacturer or the design firm. Replacement of the swirl concentrator units is not expected to be complete until early in the 2012 construction season, with the park restored to full public use at that time.

Meanwhile, the park enjoyed a grand re-opening earlier this summer, and is accessible for all functional purposes, including performances in the bandshell.

Two theater groups are sharing the stage this summer: Blackbird Theatre and the Penny Seats Theatre Company.

This weekend wraps up the Penny Seats production of “Goodnight, Desdemona (Good Morning, Juliet).” Performances still remain on Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 13-14). The Chronicle shares a few images from the comedy after the jump. [Full Story]

PAC OKs Park Plan, Suggests Golf Fee Bump

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Feb. 15, 2011): In their main business of the afternoon, park advisory commissioners signed off on the city’s Parks and Recreation Open Space (PROS) plan – an item it had postponed from its January monthly meeting.

John Lawter, Amy Kuras, Gwen Nystuen

Before the meeting, park advisory commissioner John Lawter receives the final draft of the PROS plan from park planner Amy Kuras. Looking on is commissioner Gwen Nystuen. (Photos by the writer.)

Before approving the plan, the commission heard public commentary on the issue, as well as an update from park planner Amy Kuras about how some concerns had been addressed in revisions to earlier drafts. Later in the evening, the city’s planning commission also signed off on the plan. The PROS plan is set to come before the city council on March 7.

Heard during public commentary was criticism of the PROS plan for language it contains describing public-private partnerships for park services. One example of a potential partnership arose later in the meeting, when parks and recreation deputy manager Jeff Straw outlined a request for proposals, currently in draft form, that would explore interest from vendors in providing food concessions at park facilities.

The commission also approved a recommendation to raise fees slightly at the city’s golf courses for some items. Consideration of the fee increase came prior to the year’s regular budget decisions, so that the city council can consider and give final approval to the fee increases before the city’s golf courses open for play in the spring.

Also at the meeting, parks and recreation manager Colin Smith reviewed the parks budget presentation that had been made at a Jan. 31, 2011 city council work session. Smith also gave commissioners an update on two items concerning Argo Dam. He described how intake lines for a well that’s used for measuring water levels in the pond – so that the dam gates can regulate that level – had become clogged, and had ultimately required hiring a diver to unclog one of them.

The second Argo-related item was an update on the planned bypass channel which was recommended by the city’s park advisory commission and approved by the city council last year. Insurance issues are still being worked out with the contractor, Smith said, and construction will not start as early has had been hoped. Construction is not expected to be complete before the end of the construction season – in November.

Commissioners also agreed that before the city council approves the operating agreement between the city and the University of Michigan for the planned Fuller Road Station, they would like an opportunity to review that agreement.

At the meeting, commissioners also heard about a setback in a construction project that’s already nearing completion – renovations to the drainage system in West Park. Eight swirl concentrators were installed as a part of the project – four near the north Seventh Street entrance and four near the south entrance on Seventh. Craig Hupy, head of systems planning for the city, reported that four out of the eight swirl concentrators were in some state of failure, and that one of the four had experienced a catastrophic failure. The other four are also suspected to have problems. [Full Story]

Drilling for the Drains

drill at pioneer

Pat Cody looks a bit cold working on the drilling rig in the Pioneer High School field diagonally across from Michigan Stadium.

When Steve Bean filed a Stopped. Watched. item reporting a drilling rig putting holes in the Pioneer High School lawn, The Chronicle sprang into action. We figured we already knew what it was about: a project to improve the water quality of the Allen Creek watershed, which the Ann Arbor city council had approved at its Nov. 17 meeting. Just the same, the possibility of a giant drill in action is hard to resist.

Bean’s description was dead-on. … [Full Story]