Plan will restore Ideal Park by summer 2020

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Wyoming park wiped out by a tornado five years ago is ready to make a comeback.

“This isn’t going to be a redevelopment of ball fields and athletic complex. This will pay homage to the history of this being a true regional park that celebrates nature and historic character of the city,” Rebecca Rynbrandt, Wyoming’s director of community services, said Tuesday of the plan to restore Ideal Park.

For more than 125 years, stretching back before the establishment of the city of Wyoming, people have gone to Ideal Park to hear music, have picnics and enjoy the sights and sounds of water running under two bridges.

But the park was all but destroyed in July 2014. An EF-1 tornado that caused some $5 million in damages throughout Wyoming also tore out some 98 percent of the trees in and around the park It took more than $600,000 just to get the destroyed trees out and to fill in the holes where they once stood.

In the years that followed, city leaders worked to come up with a plan to rebuild the park. Soon, the redevelopment will begin.

“It’s being rebirthed in a new development that hopefully pays honor and tribute to the history here but also will provide new opportunities for families to come out and play,” Rybrandt said. “So there will be a significant level of redevelopment.”

The city secured a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that will be part of the $1.6 million restoration that should conclude by the summer of 2020. The rest of the money comes from the city’s dedicated parks and recreation budget.

The plans include improved parking and security, a new playground, a trail connecting to the Interurban Trail and new basketball courts.

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