Detroit pursuing improved bike upgrades at Dorais Park

Riding the Dorais velodrome in Detroit

One of those is the Farwell/Dorais Park. The city will be applying for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to match their $125,000 contribution.

As you may know, Dorais is home to an old concrete velodrome built by the Wolverine Cycling Club in 1969. The city was looking into options for restoring it by having used bikes for sale. Dale Hughes came in to offer his advice. Hughes is an international expert on velodrome construction and his father-in-law, Mike Walden built the Dorais track.

His advice was it’s beyond repair. It would be easier to build a new one.


Water began seeping through some seams early on, which caused the sand base to erode. That erosion led to small cracks. When cars and motorcycles starting riding on the track, the cracks became far more substantial. The cracks are larger enough that one could not simply lay down a thin layer of blacktop.

Besides, the track has an irregular design. It was surveyed prior to grading but vandals removed half of the survey markers. With no time to redo the surveys, the north oval was made using an outstretched garden hose.

Despite the defect, this track still produced hundreds of national champions and even world champions.

But unfortunately the replacement cost far exceeds what the city can provide, not to mention the cost of programming the track. So, the city instead plans on doing some additional patchwork to fill some of the large, tire-sucking seams.

New Trails

The majority of funding would go towards a crushed stone trail around the park, a singletrack climb up Derby Hill, a multi-use, banked downhill, and more.

If you want to provide comments , you can this Wednesday at a public hearing or via writing the Recreation Department. The details are below:

Notice of Public Hearing

Proposed Grant Project for Charles E. Dorais Playfield to Improve and Upgrade Park Amenities

Detroit Recreation Department

The Detroit Recreation Department will hold a Public Hearing to discuss its application for funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Recreation Department is requesting funds to:

  • Upgrade and improve park to host winter recreational leisure activities offering a sledding hill, cross country skiing, and snow shoeing
  • Incorporate a path for walking, cross country running, hiking trail, and dirt bike trail
  • Improve the landscape, remove overgrown vegetation, and tree planting.

Dorais Playfield is located on the North Eastside of Detroit at E. Outer Drive and Mound Road. It is bound by Amrad Avenue to the North, E. Outer Drive to the South, and Mound Road Avenue to the East of the playfield.

You are encouraged to attend and give us your suggestions and ask questions regarding the proposed project.

Dated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Time: 3:00 p.m.

Place: Farwell Recreation Center, 2781 E. Outer Drive, Detroit, MI 48234

The Detroit Recreation Department is seeking $300,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund for the improvements at Dorais Playfield. The Recreation Department will add $125,000 to that amount for a total project cost of $425,000.

Information on the project may be obtained at 313-224-1155. Interested parties unable to attend the Public Hearing may submit their comments in writing to:

Sue Norander, General Manager
Detroit Recreation Department
18100 Meyers – Upper Level
Detroit, MI 48235

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4 Responses to “Detroit pursuing improved bike upgrades at Dorais Park”

  1. Chris A. Says:

    I would like to know what is the state of the project. The Michigan Department is going to provide the necessary resources? it was approved?

  2. Todd Scott Says:

    The $300K grant request was not approved. There were far more park development grant requests from around the state than there was money. The good news is the city’s $4.5 million grant request for park acquisition was approved. This was mentioned in today’s Freep article.

  3. Mike Says:

    It looks like the city has tried something similar again this year. Do you know how long it usually takes before they get a yea/nay from the State?

  4. Todd Scott Says:

    The applications get submitted in April, reviewed, and scored by the end of the year. The Trust Fund board makes their recommendations in December. It’s then up to the House, Senate, and Governor to pass the appropriations bill. In other words, about a year.

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