Skateboarders beware — the new downtown Fenton butterfly garden will not be a good place to “shred” on the rails.

 One of the final items to be purchased will be a stainless steel

handrail for both sides of the stairs. The $14,200 handrails were approved by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) at its April meeting. The price includes delivery and installation.

 “I am working on approval of the final design sketches and they will be going into production soon,” said Michael Hart, assistant city manager and DDA executive director.  “They (handrails) will have the anti-skateboarding devices installed and to the best of my knowledge, will be the first handrails with this application in the state of Michigan.”

 The Butterfly Garden project has been over a year in the making. The garden has been built near the butterfly sculpture on S. LeRoy Street, just north of city hall. The butterfly sculpture was paid for in 2017 by Gerald and Kay Willey, owners of Fenton Home Furnishings. They donated $17,000 so that the city, through the DDA, could acquire the sculpture.

 “The idea was to place the sculpture first and then figure out how to improve the area around it,” Hart said.

 In May of 2018, Hart said there are specific flowers and plants that attract butterflies. Fenton’s garden could have approximately 12 to 18 species of flowering plants. This week Hart pointed to the city’s Facebook page where on June 14, photos of Monarch butterfly caterpillars were posted.

 There are flowerbeds all around, with sidewalks so even someone in a wheelchair can have access. Hart said since last winter and spring, a steady flow of people have been visiting the sculpture plaza area and taking pictures by the butterfly sculpture.

 Although the original price tag for the butterfly garden project was anticipated to be about $35,000, additional features added for a variety of reasons that include safety, have resulted in that figure climbing to about $54,000 late last summer.

 Once the handrails are purchased and installed, the price tag will climb to $65,200.

Cost breakdown

• $35,000 was originally approved

• $11,000 to replace existing dangerous steps with jagged stones

• $2,000 approximate cost to pay for footings for the permanent placement of the butterfly sculpture

• $6,000 for lighting since it was discovered people like to visit at night

• $11,200 for handrails (both sides) with anti-skateboarding devices

• Unknown amount for flowers, plantings and other related expenses

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