The Michigan Recreation & Park Association (mParks) has selected Van Buren Township’s Quirk Park Splash Pad & Playground as their 2020 Park Design Award Winner. Honoring exemplary park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates, the annual Design Award is presented to mParks agency members in honor of outstanding landscape design, facility or architectural design and park design. The mParks awards program encompasses five award categories – Design, Organization, Marketing, Individual and Therapeutic Recreation.
The Quirk Park Splash Pad & Playground project was made possible through the financial collaboration of the Van Buren Civic Fund, Van Buren Township and the Van Buren Township Downtown Development Authority (DDA). This project was the third in a series of “Placemaking” projects completed in the last year by the DDA that reinforce connectivity and socialization. The Splash Pad & Playground, which was completed in just 70 working days, has become an area destination and gathering place for the community, cultivating an environment that promotes inclusive play, motor skill improvement, cognitive development and socialization for residents and visitors of all ages. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to “get off the bench” to play in the water features, interacting with their children and each other, building a sense of community.
Encompassing a total footprint of 6,359 SF, the Quirk Park Splash Pad is Wayne County’s largest splash park. The spray area of the Splash Pad is over 4,070 SF, which includes a dump bucket and 19 interactive water features with a variety of PSI levels to easily accommodate all ages and all types of physical abilities. Designed with safety and accessibility in mind, the Splash Pad has a slip-resistant, zero-depth brushed concrete surface, reducing the risk of any water related injuries and eliminating the need for lifeguards. The entire Pad is fenced and encompasses a “dry zone” in the outer ring with benches, two shade sails and picnic seating.
As part of an ongoing dedication to responsible growth and improvement, other notable enhancement opportunities throughout Quirk Park were identified and completed during the construction window. The final design included way-finding signage, removal of old play equipment and installation of new play equipment (ADA compliant play structure and traditional, toddler and buddy swings), a new pavilion, additional seating options (benches, traditional and accessible picnic tables), redesigned ADA compliant pathways, improved and accessible ADA parking, new changing rooms, a memorial garden and a number of infrastructure improvements to meet and exceed utility demands.
The Splash Pad is operational Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily. There is no admission fee to enter Quirk Park or play in the Splash Pad.
The Design Award will be presented on Friday, January 31, 2020 during the mParks Conference & Trade Show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
Van Buren Township is conveniently located just off I-94 and I-275, between two of Michigan’s most visited cities, Detroit and Ann Arbor. Providing unparalleled access to highway and rail systems and close proximity to Willow Run Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the American Center for Mobility, Van Buren Township is a sweet spot for businesses and residents alike. Van Buren Township’s downtown business district offers a unique variety of gathering places for locals and visitors to enjoy one another’s company, delicious food, history, art and entertainment, artfully blending rural charm with suburban amenities. For more information about The Quirk Park Splash Pad & Playground or Van Buren Township, contact the Van Buren Township DDA at 734-699-8941 or visit VanBurenDDA.com.
Lisa M. Lothringer, MCAT
Assistant Executive Director
Van Buren Township DDA
10151 Belleville Road
Van Buren Township, MI 48111