Mayor Mike Duggan today cut the ribbon on new and improved Boyer Park in southwest Detroit, which is among the first 10 to be renovated under the 40 Neighborhood Parks program he launched last spring. The Mayor also announced that work is getting underway on the other 30 neighborhood parks slated for major capital improvements this year.
Standing with residents of the surrounding neighborhood, Duggan officially rededicated Boyer Park, which includes new play equipment, soccer field, walking paths, benches, a new half-pipe for skateboarders and a basketball half-court. Construction at Boyer was completed late last fall.
Just two miles from Boyer, residents gathered to celebrate the start of construction at Szafraniec Park, which is one of 30 remaining neighborhood parks that will be upgraded this year.
“These park improvements are just one of the ways we are investing in our neighborhoods for the residents who live here and to make the city more attractive to new families,” said Mayor Duggan. “Access to quality recreational opportunities is a key to the strength of any neighborhood.”
When Duggan took office in January 2014, only about 25 parks citywide were being regularly maintained. Within a year, however, that number swelled to about 275 thanks in large part to a successful Adopt-A-Park Program with local churches, businesses and other organizations. With quality maintenance now handled, the City has turned its attention to making significant investments into the long-neglected and smaller neighborhood play lots that once served as the “Central Park” for many families and safe havens for children.
In 2015, the City spent $1 million to improve seven neighborhood parks, including Arthur, Edmore-Marbud, Optimist-Parkgrove, Ryan, Tuttle and Wilson, bringing to nearly 50 the number of neighborhood parks that have seen major upgrades since Mayor Duggan took office.
“Neighborhood parks represent more than green grass and games for children. They are the center gathering space for a neighborhood, a place for families to gather, laugh and play,” said Adriana Alvarez, a Detroit resident who lives near Boyer Park and President of Congress of Communities. “Parks are where neighbors come together and build strong friendships that will help us bring this city back.”
The City’s Parks & Recreation and General Services departments identified the 40 locations based on several key criteria, including which unimproved parks had the highest concentrations of children and senior citizens living close by. Another consideration was the size of the parks; all 40 are no larger than 5.5 acres.
The 40 neighborhood parks slated for improvement in 2016-17 are part of the Parks and Recreation Improvement Plan, which outlines the City’s strategy to improve parks and recreation facilities. The improvement plan, which has had considerable community input, focuses on prioritizing parks across the city, with the goal of creating quality public space accessible to all Detroiters.
During his budget address to City Council in February 2016, Duggan revealed that his Chief Financial Officer, John Hill, had discovered $50 million in bond funds that had gone unspent over several decades. Of those funds, $11.7 million has been earmarked for the park improvements. The remaining funds will pay to build out a high-tech, real-time crime center at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters and to construct a new 8th Precinct for the Police Department.
Neighborhood Parks Improved in 2016:
Fields Playground, 16601 Florence
Walkways, playground, fitness equipment, picnic area
Simmons Playground, 19450 Chapel
Walkways, playground, picnic shelter, soccer field, softball backstop, junior basketball
Liuzzo Playground, 20053 Winthrop
Walkways, playground, fitness equipment, picnic area, pickleball courts, landscaping
Wells Playground, 20159 Griggs
Basketball, playground upgrade, fitness equipment, fencing, picnic shelter
Calimera Playground, 19493 Joann
Playground, walkways, half-court basketball, picnic area, landscaping
Hansen Playground, 542 Drexel
Walkways, fitness equipment, expanded playground, junior basketball, picnic shelter, landscaping
Latham Playground, 5082 Seneca
Playground, walkways, game pad, horseshoe court, picnic area, landscaping
Boyer Playground, 6203 W. Vernor
Walkways, skate ramp, mini basketball courtl, playground, youth soccer field, picnic area
Mansfield-Diversey Playground, 7753 Rutherford
Walkways, picnic shelter, full court and junior basketball, sports field, landscaping
Cross/Tireman-Littlefield Playground, 8134 Manor
Walkways, fitness equipment, picnic area, landscpaing
30 Parks to be Renovated in 2017
- Cook Playground, 16001 Fenkell
- Hackett Playground, 17236 Avon
- Marx Playground, 18201 Greenview
- Reid Playground, 20625 Santa Clara
- Clinton Playground, 8145 Chalfonte (Transferred from Detroit Public Schools)
- Diack Playground, 13889 Curtis
- Gorham Playground, 19969 St. Marys
- Varier Playground, 15639 Thatcher
- Bale Playground, 18673 Winthrop
- Collins Playground, 11618 Alpena
- Luce-St. Louis Playground, 13490 St. Louis
- Marruso Playground, 19908 Annott
- Syracuse Playground, 19192 Syracuse
- Yaksich Playground, 18160 Anglin
- Brewer Playground, 12450 Hayes (Transferred from Detroit Public Schools)
- O’Brien Playground, 11938 E. McNichols
- Dueweke Playground, 4975 Sheridan
- LaSalle Park, 2380 S. LaSalle Blvd.
- Gordon Playground, 1935 Atkinson
- Stewart, 12701 14th Street (Transferred from Detroit Public Schools)
- Yates Playground, 2499 Blaine
- 30th-Herbert Playground, 5000 30th Street
- Nagel Playground, 3100 Wabash
- Sak Playground, 4322 Kinsman
- Scripps Playground, 3666 W. Grand River
- Szafraniec Playground, 4513 Campbell
- Doan Playground, 9946 Prest
- Greene Playground, 9177 Robson
- Phelps Playground, 9982 Sorrent
- Richard Allen (Nardin), 9516 W. Grand River