Map: 76 Detroit Parks to be Decommissioned

Land-UseOpportunityParksAfter pouring over parks data last summer, I had found that 112 parks had been left without any clear plan whether that was community adoption, city mowing, or other. There has been rumor that “51 parks will be decommissioned,” but no word yet on which ones or what that actually means.

“Though the city would not release a park decommission list to Bridge, a draft of a map from Dick’s department listing more than 60 ghost parks that are either decommissioned or on their way to being decommissioned has circulated among Detroit’s park observers.” – Bill McGraw, Bridge Magazine

In a draft map that is part of the new “parks master plan” 76 parks have been given the designation of “land use opportunity parks.”

  • Stone Memorial School or “Stone Pool” is already known to have been promised to DTE Energy
  • Redmond Plaza sometimes called “needle park” has been fenced off since the construction began on Selden Standard
  • Wick Park might become a parking lot for the new CCNDC affordable housing apartments (link)
  • Cass Park was almost handed over to Olympia Development (Illitch) last year (link)

Does this mean the city will sell park land to be developed? Will these be targeted for non-motorized transit oriented development (TOD)? Is there any accompanying data on people served by the green space. It seems odd that the city would give up green space in the rapidly developing inner ring around Midtown/Downtown.

At the same time the city is pushing out a lot of positive press on parks. Things have definitely improved, but there are still more questions than answers.

UPDATE 07/28/15 from the General Services Department (GSD):

The General Services and Parks and Recreation Departments are in the process of updating our 2006 Strategic Master Plan, which kicked off with two citywide public meetings this winter. As the title suggests, the mapping exercise above pictures an early draft of several parks that offer opportunities for broader public use beyond recreation (such as carbon buffers, more natural landscapes, or even urban farms). While these ideas are still in early planning stages, all the parks listed on the map (other than those mentioned in the post as sold) will remain public land and many are planned for improvements. Once GSD and DPRD have a more robust draft of our plan update, this will be released to the public for review and feedback before going to City Council. At this stage, calling parks on this list “decommissioned” is incorrect and sends the wrong message to the citizens of Detroit.

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