Community Speaks Out To Save Detroit Water Park

Supporters Say Water Park Is Valuable Resource On City's East Side

DETROIT - There was an outpouring of support Thursday for a Detroit water park that might be closed because of a budget shortfall.

Residents had their say on saving the Chandler Park Family Aquatic Center before the Wayne County Commission's Committee on Ways and Means at a hearing that held at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano has said a $1 million shortfall in the county's parks budget has put the park's future up for discussion, but that no decision has been made.

?At this point, it is premature to make a decision about Chandler Park. The county has always been looking at ways to make operations at the park more fiscally viable,? Ficano said in a statement to Local 4. ?When the golf courses posed financial difficulties; we sought and found successful solutions.?

Bernard Parker, chairman of the Wayne County Commission, said he doesn?t agree that shutting down the park. Is the way to go.

?Unfortunately, you?re probably going to have to talk to County Executive Ficano on why they selected that. I don?t understand it myself,? Parker said. ?I hope he hears the cries of the people and that he would reconsider.

Director of Wayne County Parks Beverly Watts stressed that no action has been taken yet to shutter the water park.

?We?re looking at all options. As a matter of fact, we?re having a meeting right now specifically about the water park with exploring business and community partnerships and all the ways we?re exploring to keep the water park open,? Watts said. ?And that is our goal.?

Roderick Walker said for children in the city's east side neighborhoods, the water park is the only option for some relief from the heat.

"When it's hot, I like to come up here with my friends and enjoy the water and hang with my friends and stuff," he said. "A lot of people in the neighborhood love this water park. We enjoy it and we don't want to see it close."

Last month, dozens of children marched to show their support for the effort to keep the park open, which is being spearheaded by the Chandler Park Promise Coalition.

"It's like water in the desert. This is all that's here. But beyond that, this is our community and we deserve a quality park, " said Angela Walker, a member of the coalition.

Raising fees is one proposal to save the park. It's $3 for adults and $2 for children. That price has dropped since 2006, when it was $7 for adults and $5 for children.

Mom Kirstin Tannas said whatever it takes, she wants to keep the park around.

"It's a great resource and asset here on the east side. It's an opportunity for our kids to do something safe and have a wonderful experience," she said.

Walker said the coalition is also hoping to get an indoor pool and track added to the area for community use.

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