OAKLAND COUNTY – Environmentally-conscious efforts landed Oakland County Parks three awards from the Michigan Recreation and Parks Association.
The parks system received the 2009 MRPA Innovative Park Resources Award for implementing a new groundwater and storm water management system in the aging infrastructure at Waterford Oaks County Park in Waterford.
The infrastructure now includes open detention ponds, vegetative swales, porous pavement and underground detention areas, which improve the area’s water quality.
“We’re now catching and filtering more than 75 percent of the site’s water runoff,” Mike Donnellon, chief of Facilities, Maintenance and Development, said. “The native vegetation helps with the breakdown of hydrocarbons that come from vehicles.”
The four-month-long project was funded in part by a Clean Michigan Initiative grant of $190,000.
Oakland County Parks auto mechanic Mike Willhite posthumously received the 2009 MRPA Park Resources Leadership Award for his efforts building the River Trail and Ted Gray boardwalks at Independence Oaks County Park in Clarkston.
He invented a cantilever machine to build the boardwalks that minimized the impact on wetlands and saved $23,000.
Willhite worked at Oakland County Parks for 22 years before passing away Sept. 9, 2009 at age 53.
And Holly Warnos, a part-time employee who assists with adaptive recreation programs, received the 2009 MRPA Young Professional for Therapeutic Recreation Award.
Oakland County Parks accepted the awards at the 2010 MRPA annual conference and trade show in Grand Rapids.
On August 3, 2010, Oakland County voters will be asked to vote on the renewal of a 10-year millage of .2415 for the purpose of operating, maintaining, improving and acquiring parks and recreation areas and facilities in Oakland County, Michigan.
For more information about the Oakland County Parks, visit DestinationOakland.com.