Nankin Mills Interpretive Center Re-Opening

Our parks system is among the best anywhere, and it's going to get even better. Today I was proud to celebrate the re-opening of the Nankin Mills Interpretive Center together with our supporters as well as members of our Wayne County Parks staff.

It is important to note that without all of us working together, none of this could have happened. For that reason I want to specifically acknowledge Wayne County Director of Public Services Bev Watts, Wayne County Parks Division Director Alicia Bradford, our Wayne County Parks staff, Wayne County Commission Chairperson Alisha Bell and our Wayne County Commissioners, and Westland Mayor Bill Wild. I am extremely proud of the work we have done together for the people of Wayne County.

This construction season, the Wayne County Parks system underwent over $5 million in renovation projects across the County, which included $800,000 in renovations to Nankin Mills. Originally constructed in 1994, Nankin Mills is home to many live animal exhibits and interpretive programs that highlight the natural and cultural history of the area. Located adjacent to the original mill built in 1863, it also serves as the administrative offices for Wayne County Parks. The Center will now have improved classroom technologies, added interactive displays and enhanced animal habitats.

It is overwhelming with information, but it is also beautiful to look at. We've had a great run for 100 years with our parks system, but our parks need to evolve like everything else and that is what today was about; the evolution of our parks into something incredible. Walking trails, our ability to canoe, and being able to ride horses are all part of a really great parks system, and the older I get the more I realize the parks are a part of our health care.

As Bev Watts, our Director of Public Services, said during her remarks, we have always had a vision that we wanted to connect everyone together. Our parks system is a wonderful way to bring that vision to life.

And it doesn't stop with Nankin Mills. Other Wayne County Parks capital improvement projects include the following:

Ellsworth Boardwalk

Serving as a trailhead for the east portion of the Holliday Nature Preserve, this project offers our residents, visitors, schools and family groups of all ages and abilities the opportunity to "explore even more" of the Preserve. This Project encompasses a paved trail and an extensive boardwalk that meanders through the tall trees along the Middle Rouge River. With a focus on protecting and preserving our natural resources for generations to come, this project incorporates green infrastructure for storm water management as well as a small ADA compliant parking lot with various site amenities

Project cost: $472,200 (This project includes $200,000 in funding provided from a MDNR Trust Fund Grant)

Ann Arbor Trail Connector

This non-motorized trail connecting the communities of Livonia and Westland in Hines Park provides a safe, off road route that will connect our residents and visitors traveling along Ann Arbor Trail and within Oak Grove to Hines Park. In addition to a paved trail, the project includes a pedestrian bridge, trailhead parking, crosswalk, shoreline restoration, gravel path and site amenities.

Project cost: $1,160,400 (This project includes $630,406 from MDOT TAP funding and $300,000 from a MDNR Trust Fund Grant)

Newburgh Road Trailhead

Wayne County Parks collaborated with the Motor City Mountain Biking Association (MCMBA), a member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, to implement two mountain bike trails; Lakeview and Riverview located in Hines Park. These trails offer both riders and hikers spectacular views of Newburgh Lake and the Middle Rouge River while traversing through tall oak and maple trees. The trails are maintained by MCMBA and continually evolving. Along with the trails, a new parking lot has been constructed and serves as a trailhead.

Project cost: $160,000

Merriman Hollow Playground

Inspired by nature, a new themed play structure for both preschool and school age children was implemented at Merriman Hollow within Hines Park. Elements are intended to encourage kids to take a break from the digital world to enjoy some outside imaginary play while providing opportunities to improve strength and endurance and interaction with family and friends.

Project cost: $211,000

Hawthorne Ridge Bike Park

Partially located on the former ball diamond site at Hawthorne Ridge, the bike park serves as an extension of the recently constructed mountain bike trails. Riders of all ages and abilities can enjoy this new amenity to the Wayne County Parks System. The three areas within the bike include the pump track, bicycle playground, and flow trails. As an added benefit, the pump track can be utilized by not only bikes, but also skateboards, non-motorized scooters and roller blades.

Project Cost: $250,000

Music Elements:

Musical elements have been implemented within existing playgrounds and open areas around the Park System to provide an opportunity for people of all ages to create music. The music elements are located at Kinloch Park, Nankin Mills Park, Waterford Bend, and Bennett Arboretum.

Project cost: $47,900