WCPARC announces the groundbreaking of its long-awaited Multipurpose Building at Staebler Farm County Park. The new structure will service the needs of park staff and site partner, the Michigan Folk School.
Planning for the building began in early 2019 but was placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, the Parks and Recreation Commission authorized release of an RFP to obtain proposals for construction. A contract was awarded to Washtenaw County-based Phoenix Contractors, Inc. that December.
The 5,800sq.ft. building was designed by professionals from The Collaborative, Inc. out of Ann Arbor and Toledo. Its minimalistic design complements the historic farm buildings without detracting from their character. The building accommodates three classroom spaces, and includes a teaching kitchen, employee offices, a small conference room, and public restrooms. The Michigan Folk School’s founder and Executive Director, Jason Gold, remarked, “This new Multipurpose Building will allow our programming to expand into craft mediums such as fiber, glass, and music. Staebler Farm County Park is such a wonderful gift to the people of Washtenaw County and the folk community!”
It is anticipated that major site work, including widening Plymouth Road, will occur summer 2022. The building is expected to be erected by winter with site restoration occurring late spring of 2023.
The Multipurpose Building will be the first major new construction project since opening the bathhouses at Rolling Hills Water Park and Independence Lake County Park’s Blue Heron Bay Spray Park in 2013. Over the next ten years, additional site development will occur with more traditional park amenities appealing to the broader public provided north of Plymouth Road. The land south of the road will focus on continued agricultural production and educational programming.
WCPARC Director, Coy Vaughn, expressed his enthusiasm for the project and future development at the park, “The new multipurpose building is an exciting step towards completing Washtenaw County’s newest park. Staebler Farm Park will be developed in several phases over the next ten years creating an authentic farm experience for County residents to enjoy for generations to come.”