Detroit mayor says all city parks will be open this spring, summer

By Halston Herrera - Digital news editor

DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced Wednesday that money has been found to keep all city parks open this spring and summer.

Through fund relocation, grants and community donations, Bing said the 50 parks will be ready to welcome visitors.

Bing had said earlier this year that the parks would have to be shut down for lack of funding and resources following a failed deal between the state the city for Belle Isle.

Bing also announced that partnerships with area businesses had raised $14 million to maintain and improve the city's recreation centers as part of the Active and Safe campaign.

"Detroit youth and senior citizens will be able to stay safe this summer," Bing said.

Lear Corporation is donating $5 million over five years to support the city's recreation centers and parks

Several businesses, community groups and residents also have come forward to adopt parks in order to keep them open.

"We want to thank all of our wonderful partners who have adopted parks across the city," said Brad Dick, director of Detroit's General Services Department. "Three years ago, Mayor Bing put out a call to service for residents and organizations to take a stronger interest in their parks.  At that time, we only had 26 individuals and groups pledge to adopt parks. Today, that number has grown to 119."

The General Services Department expects to begin mowing park lawns next month. High use parks will be mowed on a 10-14 day cycle, while parks with lower use will be cut on a three-week cycle. Permanent staff will be placed at five of the busiest parks — Palmer, Patton, Clark, Farwell and Lasky — to manage daily maintenance. 

In addition to employing eligible seasonal workers, Detroit is hiring employees to service all of the parks. 

Some of the business donors are:

General Motors, Marathon Oil, UAW-Ford, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ford Motor Company, DTE Energy, Detroit International Bridge Company, Belle Isle Conservancy (Women's Committee), McGregor Fund, and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.  In-kind donations are being made by AOL, Fifth Third Bank, VisionIT\, and Vesco Oil. 

In March, another group of businesses stepped up to contribute $8 million to the public safety component of the Active and Safe Campaign.

The money is being used to acquire 23 new ambulances for the Detroit Fire Department's EMS unit and 100 new patrol cars for the Detroit Police Department.

To date, a total of $22 million has been raised toward the $60 million goal of the three-year campaign.


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