PONTIAC, Mich. – The Pontiac community is taking the future of their neighborhood parks into their own hands.
To do it, the Pontiac Community Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign for $50,000 to redevelop the Mattie McKinney Hatchett Park near Paddock and Perkins streets.
“Some of the equipment is not safe for the children,” Sommer Brock, vice president of development at Pontiac Community Foundation, said.
Eaton Williams has lived next to the park for 15 years.
“It has deteriorated somewhat I guess because of the lack of attention,” Williams said.
He isn’t too proud of what he’s seen the park become.
“... (people) doing numerous things that shouldn’t be conducted in a park.”
New plans for the park include new walkways, a soccer field, two new basketball courts, new signs and more.
“We want this to be a model for park redevelopment. We’re thinking top of the line infrastructure that will be part of the community for years to come,” said Brock.
The entire project will cost $400,000. Pontiac Community Foundation already has some of that money committed. They are currently raising $50,000 to be matched by Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The campaign ends October October 31. The question is, why isn’t the city paying for the park to be redeveloped?
Brock explained, “In 2008, during the height of the economic crisis, Pontiac, parks, our whole parks and recreation department was dismantled. So for many years, any park maintenance that has happened in the city has been at the efforts of small grassroots organizations.”
The goal is to not only restore this park but restore the heart of the community too.
“When our community is invested in, that people start to develop and feel value in that community,” Brock said.
The groundbreaking is September 30 and the new park is expected to be done by Spring 2022.
For a closer look at designs and plans for the park as well as ways to contribute, click here.