Slow legislature delays Ideal Park reconstruction

EF-1 tornado in July 6, 2014 damaged city park in Wyoming

Ideal Park
Ideal Park in Wyoming on July 6, 2017.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The EF-1 tornado that touched down in Kentwood and Wyoming on the night of July 6, 2014 hit Ideal Park hard.

The twister took out trees and damaged the playgrounds in the Wyoming city park. Plans to rebuild formed shortly thereafter, but besides a few new trees, little has been done three years later. Area residents are disappointed with the lack of progress.

The damage at Ideal Park in Wyoming. (July 8, 2014)

“They’ve got all kinds of plans but no action,” said Dan Rau, who lives across the street from the park.

Rau said he goes to the park every day in the summer to exercise with his dog. Rau has noticed that the once busy park has become quiet since the tornado.

“With no playground, the kids have no place to play,” he said. “It used to be this street was lined up both sides with cars coming to the park…They used to have picnics and different outings out here all the time in the park and now all they have is the big pavilion.”

>>Inside woodtv.com: Photos of the damage at Ideal Park

The city’s plan was to install a second pavilion, a new basketball court, restrooms and playgrounds. But none of that has happened, despite the city receiving a $300,000 grant to pay for it. Rau says that’s irritating.

When 24 Hour News 8 reached out to the city to find out what’s going on, we learned the problem was our state lawmakers. The grant was tied to Senate Bill 76, which took much longer than expected to pass.

Wyoming city parks explained that though the city was awarded the money, it can’t be released until the bill is signed by the governor. Right now, the bill is waiting on his desk.

If the governor signs the bill, Wyoming plans to start rebuilding next year.

“I’ve waited now three years now. Time will tell,” Rau said.