Niles City Officials weigh options for Island Park's future

NOW: Niles City Officials weigh options for Island Park’s future

NILES, Mich – City Officials in Niles are still weighing options for the flood prone Island Park.

As of Wednesday evening the water level near the park was almost at 11 feet which is almost at flood stage.

“I suspect that the island is going to continue to flood in the future we looked back at some records and it appears that it went underwater about 12 times in the last 9 years so I think we can pretty much expect that the island from year to year is probably going to be impacted by flood waters,” Niles City Administrator Richard Huff said.

ABC57 spoke with people in the Niles community who were split on what the future of Island Park should be.

I think it’s a good idea if the town can find a way to maybe keep elevating it or investing money then a different way than just cleaning the soil and having it flood again you just lost all that money you invested having to do it again next year,” Niles resident Sage Smith said.

Whereas Niles Resident Rich Moore says regardless of the potential future flooding Niles’ Island Park should be repaired fully.

“Every year that park has gone underwater at one time or another it’s never been an issue its always come back I think it should always come back it was passed onto us by our forefathers to keep entrust for future generations to enjoy and I want my generation to be known as the one that kept it as good and passed it on better than they got it not the one that did away with it,” Moore said.

The city of Niles is currently seeking bids to repair the bridge to restore access to the park.

City officials have three options in front of them regarding restoring the park of which they have not decided on which plan to pursue.

Option 1: Completely renovate the park including repairing the bridge and the playground equipment

Option 2: Repair the bridge and clean-up the silt

Option 3: Do nothing and leave the park closed

Option one is estimated to cost approximately $250,000 to $300,000.

Option two is expected to cost approximately $150,000.

Both options would be funded through the city’s general fund.

Huff said the city needs to keep the investment in mind when making the final decision but he said they also need to keep the community’s support for the park in mind as well.

“I think that we need to be very cautious about the investment we put into it but there’s a lot of community support for getting the island back open and at least just access to the island,” Huff said.

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