Van Buren Township, Wayne County, Michigan Riggs Heritage Farmstead

McKenna Associates prepared the plans for Riggs Heritage Park (30 acres), located at a historic homestead and farm (Est. 1836) to be enhanced and used as a passive park, cultural center, agricultural preserve, historical village, trailhead with train depot replica respite station, amphitheater, pathways, pond, picnic and community events area. The park land was donated and the initial development is made possible through the use of a portion of a $2,000,000 Wayne County Parks Grant.

"The Depot": The universal access picnic shelter/rest room was being modeled after the original train depot in Belleville. It is located adjacent to the same rail line approximately one mile from its original location that helped to settle the area. Some green friendly elements incorporated into the design include the use of natural lighting in the restrooms, and LED site lighting.

Short Grass Prairie: A short grass prairie was being planted to return the land to its environmentally sustainable, pre-settlement conditions. This area contains a network of walking-biking trails to allow movement through this rich ecosystem.

Additional benefits of including the natural planting include better drainage due to the deeper roots that native prairie grass provides over turf grass. The prairie provides a natural ecosystem for many birds and small animals. This natural area provides for many interpretive opportunities for both environmental and historical education and is graphically highlighted with interpretive kiosks.

Sustainable Storm Water Management: The storm water management system utilizes several Best Management Practices (BMP’s) to minimize the impact of the site development and use patterns. This project has modern conveniences like rest rooms, permeable and conventional paving and low impact parking, but the design strives to minimize the impact on the site and environment. The BMP’s include permeable pavement, surface runoff, bio-swales and wet meadow plantings. Interpretive kiosks highlight the environmental processes taking place and the rationale behind constructing these elements in this manner.

Bike Path Trail Head: The planned trail head will connect to Lower Huron Metro Park to the east, and become part of the regional bike path network. The trail system ties into the Township’s Greenway Corridor Master Plan.