Enhance quality of life through park improvement efforts in the Williamston area
The Friends of Williamston Parks (FOWP) is a part of the Williamston Area Beautification Fund.
The Williamston Area Beautification Fund is a nonprofit designed to address the charitable needs of the Greater Williamston community, including the advancement of education, cultural and humanitarian interests; enhancement of the arts and humanities; beautification of grounds, parks and facilities; and environmental issues. Since its inception in 2003, it has enhanced the area’s quality of life by funding improvements. Some of its notable projects have been the Williamston Depot Museum, McCormick Park tree sculptures and the American Legion Band Shell. It also continues to fund programming for the Concerts at the Shell each summer.
Formed in 2015 and supported by WABF, the Friends of Williamston Parks is a volunteer community group working to enhance the quality of life of Williamston area residents by funding, planning and implementing local park improvement efforts. Through recreation opportunities and encounters with nature, we believe Williamston area parks are vital to the community’s character, an asset to economic development and beneficial to people of all ages. In addition to WABF, Williamston Kiwanis, Sunrise Rotary and the City of Williamston are partners in the Friends of Williamston Parks.
Renovation of Wooden Play Structure at McCormick Park
In 2015, FOWP raised nearly $25,000 by selling $50 raffle tickets and $25 personalized wooden fence slats around the perimeter of the wooden play structure. We also received a $750 grant from the Sunrise Rotary to purchase a picnic table, and Williamston Kiwanis donated $1800 to purchase the new bucket swing and parent/child swing. Seventy raffle prizes were donated by 40 different individuals, businesses and organizations. The top prizes were a 1966 Ford Mustang, John Deere riding lawn mower and 50-inch flat screen TV. The announcement of the prize winners took place during a concert at the American Legion Band Shell in May 2015.
In the summer of 2015, FOWP organized several volunteer work days to sand, repair, seal and paint the wooden structure. More than 400 hours of volunteer time resulted in a refurbished structure. Extensive weeding was done prior to spreading of new playground mulch. A few items were removed for safety reasons and to make room for new equipment, totaling more than $20,000. Also, after much research and planning to maximize funds, new parts and playground elements were ordered in preparation for 2016 installation. During two weekends in May 2016, 30 volunteers assisted with installation of new and upgraded equipment, enhancing 13 different areas of the wooden play structure. The installation labor, concrete, play sand, lumber and some use of machinery were donated to the effort.
What We've Achieved
Organized volunteers to put in over 400 hours to upgrade the McCormick Park wooden play structure.
Planned annual clean-up days to focus on park maintenance.
Developed a Facebook page with regular updates and nearly 700 followers.
Participated in several community events, including Williamston Elementary Ice Cream Social, Red Cedar Jubilee and Williamston Rocks! with the Mayor.
Raised more than $60,000 in donations, grants and event revenue to fund a new playground at Volunteers Community Park.
Organized a three-day Community Build, in which 70 volunteers installed the new playground at Volunteers Community Park.
Raised over $20,000 to fund repairs to aging McCormick Park wooden play structure.
Coordinated support from the Williamston Area Beautification Fund, City of Williamston, Williamston Sunrise Rotary and Williamston Kiwanis Club.
An Overview of Williamston Area Parks
Howard Dahlstrom Memorial Park
Featuring a lighted sledding hill, multi-use open space and paved parking, Howard Dahlstrom Memorial Park is located on Mechanic Street and sits just south of the Williamston Community Schools sports complex. It has a small pavilion and gated access.
Centrally located just north of downtown Williamston on the Red Cedar River, McCormick Park features numerous recreation opportunities including two play structures, American Legion Memorial Band Shell, baseball diamond, pickle ball courts, sand volleyball and tether ball. The paved pathway, numerous benches, two picnic shelters, historical gazebo, Wall of Honor and restroom/concession facilities complement the park. Tree sculpture art and interpretive signs are found throughout the greenspace.
With almost a quarter mile of natural frontage on the Red Cedar River, Memorial Park is situated next to the Williamston Community Schools property and sports fields. It is linked to the neighborhoods south of the river by a pedestrian bridge. Tentative plans call for redevelopment of this parkland to create a memorial trail, sculpture and plaza in honor of American veterans.
Old Mill Park
Just west of the Putnam Street Bridge, Old Mill Park includes the river boardwalk, informational signage, historical plaza and gazebo. The gazebo and gardens are maintained by the Red Cedar Garden Club. The 300-foot long board walk features picnic tables and views of the Red Cedar River, rapids and manmade island.
Volunteers Community Park
Situated on the corner of Putnam and School streets next to The Commons, Volunteers Community Park features the Trent Allen Memorial Basketball Courts and a new playground area installed in July 2019. Future plans include additional parking, picnic pavilion and new entrance.
Williamstown Township Hall
Available to township residents for recreational use and for various community clubs and organizations, the grounds of the township hall feature a pavilion, soccer field, baseball diamond, and playground equipment. It is situated northwest of Williamston at the corner of Zimmer and Germany roads.
Williamstown Township Community Park
Built in 1996 and located on 132 acres three miles west of downtown Williamston, the park lies on the banks of the Red Cedar River. It features a sledding hill, nature trails, wildflower prairie, picnic shelter, soccer fields, baseball diamond and open turf area for various activities. The township recently purchased a former private home adjacent to the property and is exploring possible community uses for it in the future.