Detroit’s neighborhoods are the window into the city. Now that window will be filled with more green parks and views of children playing on playgrounds.
It’s all made possible under an $11.7 million plan just laid out by Mayor Mike Duggan and City Parks & Recreation Department officials. It’s found money. In his budget address earlier this year Duggan said his Chief Financial Officer John Hill discovered $50 million in bond funds that had not been spent over several decades. Of those dollars $11.7 million has been earmarked for the park improvements.
The will rest of the money will build out a high-tech real-time crime center at the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters and construct a new 8th Precinct for the Detroit Police Department. A wise use of the dollars since safety goes hand-in-hand with cleaning up blight and revitalizing neighborhoods.
Over the next two years 40 city parks and playgrounds in neighborhoods across Detroit will be renovated.
“These are not the city’s large marquee parks that already have seen improvements. These are the local parks that many families can walk to from home without ever having to cross a major road,” says Mayor Duggan. “As we bring back neighborhoods across this city, we are making sure we bring back the neighborhood parks along with them.”
He made the announcement at Simmons Playground in District 1 on Detroit’s northwest side, one of the 40 parks slated for improvements.
The city’s recreation and general services departments identified the 40 locations based on several key criteria. They looked at which unimproved parks had the highest concentrations of children and senior citizens living close by and the size of the parks. All 40 are no larger than 5.5 acres.
The improvements will not be made in a vacuum. The city wants community input to determine the improvements and amenities each park will receive and will soon be reaching out to the communities. A public meeting will be held in each Detroit City Council District to discuss the projects planned.
There will also be two public meetings – one on the east side and one on the west side – to discuss the city’s overall Parks & Recreation Improvement Plan. Once those dates and locations are established, the information will be made available through the City of Detroit website at www.detroitmi.gov and city recreation centers.
Ten of the 40 parks will be renovated this year, and the remaining 30 next year.
Here are the 10 parks planned for improvements in 2016, along with what they need:
District 1 Fields Playground, 16601 Florence Walkways, picnic area, fencing
Simmons Playground, 19450 Chapel Walkways, playground, basketball
District 2 Bale Playground, 18673 Winthrop Playground, walkways, fencing
Liuzzo Playground, 20053 Winthrop Walkways, picnic area, basketball
District 3 Calimera Playground, 19493 Joann Playground, walkways, basketball court
District 4 Hansen Playground, 542 Drexel Walkways, horseshoes, junior basketball
District 5 Latham Playground, 5082 Seneca Playground, fencing, other amenities
District 6 Boyer Playground, 6203 W. Vernor Walkways, playground, picnic shelter
District 7 Mansfield-Diversey Playground, 7753 Rutherford Walkways, landscaping, sports field
Cross/Tireman-Littlefield Playground, 8134 Manor Walkways, picnic area, basketball
These 30 parks will be renovated in 2017:
Cook Playground, 16001 Fenkell Hackett Playground, 17236 Avon Marx Playground, 18201 Greenview Reid Playground, 20625 Santa Clara
District 2 Clinton Playground, 8145 Chalfonte (Transferred from Detroit Public Schools) Diack Playground, 13889 Curtis Gorham Playground, 19969 St. Marys Varier Playground, 15639 Thatcher Wells Playground, 20159 Griggs
District 3 Collins Playground, 11618 Alpena Luce-St. Louis Playground, 13490 St. Louis Marruso Playground, 19908 Annott Syracuse Playground, 19192 Syracuse Yaksich Playground, 18160 Anglin
District 4 Brewer Playground, 12450 Hayes (Transferred from Detroit Public Schools) O’Brien Playground, 11938 E. McNichols
District 5 Dueweke Playground, 4975 Sheridan Franklin (LaSalle) Park, 2380 S. LaSalle Blvd. Gordon Playground, 1935 Atkinson Stewart, 12701 14th Street (Transferred from Detroit Public Schools) Yates Playground, 2499 Blaine
District 6 30th – Herbert Playground, 5000 30th Street Nagel Playground, 3100 Wabash Sak Playground, 4322 Kinsman Scripps Playground, 3666 W. Grand River Szafraniec Playground, 4513 Campbell
District 7 Doan Playground, 9946 Prest Greene Playground, 9177 Robson Phelps Playground, 9982 Sorrent Richard Allen (Nardin), 9516 W. Grand River
Last year, the city spent $1 million to upgrade seven parks around Detroit, including Arthur, Edmore-Marbud, Optimist-Parkgrove, Ryan, Tuttle and Wilson. In 2014, the city, with the help of more than 70 Adopt-a-Park volunteer groups, resumed regular mowing and cleaning of approximately 250 parks that were not being maintained in years prior due to city budget cuts.
To see the entire Parks and Recreation Improvement Plan and details of each of the 40 selected parks, go to the City of Detroit’s website at www.detroitmi.gov/40neighborhoodparks
— Playground and park hotos from the City of Detroit