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A City With No Parks?

So, the Bing Administration has announced that, starting July 1, it will close nearly 80 parks, including in neighborhoods with some of the most engaged citizens. To some degree, the move is understandable: Detroit must sharply reduce its services to avoid bankruptcy. But the move raises several issues, like: What will happen to the parks? Detroit hardly needs more barren fields. One risk is that fewer parks will make Detroit even less palatable to the kind of people -- particularly middle-class residents, with kids -- the city needs if it is ever to rebound.

Nearly a year ago, I asked Mayor Bing about the fundamental services a city should provide its citizens. He said: "There are services that we can't provide anymore, that we'll either cut back, or we'll do away with altogether.... There's some basic things we absolutely have to be responsible for -- public safety, for example. If you don't have an education system where kids get a safe, good education, you can't convince anyone to stay here or to come here." Jobs, obviously, would help. But parks are also a factor when one considers a city's quality of life.

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  • 1

    BTW Bloomfield Hills the most affluent city in the state has no parks I don't notice you having a quarrel with that..

    What is tragic about this situation is that why our nation is wasting billions overseas rebuilding entire nations from new schools to hospitals and here in America we must observe our cities on life support..

    Makes you wanna hollar and throw up both your hands or declare War on the US Government...

    • 1.1

      Your point is absurd. Residents in Bloomfield Hills have safe neighborhoods for their children to frolic in as kids should, in addition many have backyards that would rival a park. For Bloomfield Hills residents that want a true playground they can take their kids to play at a safe, clean well equipped school playground and finally, if they want a true "park" experience they can go to one of the beautiful parks in West Bloomfield right next door. Parks I might add, that unlike the Grosse Pointes are not limited only to residents. (BTW before you take issue with my pointing out that the Grosse Pointe parks are limited to residents, it is their city and their right to make that decision - West Bloomfield parks are not limited only to residents.) None of these are good options for individuals living in the city. So no, I don't have a quarrel with Bloomfield Hills not having city parks, nor do I have a quarrel with the Grosse Pointes limiting their parks to residents only. I am saddened that it has come to this point where even the poor maintenance offered by the City of Detroit for its parks is now out of reach. One of the parks on the list to be closed is Scripps Park not far from Wayne State in the Woodbridge Historic District neighborhood. It a space that could be lovely and is a shambles. It has become a place for the homeless to gather with broken playground equipment and a rarely mowed lawn. There are a lots of kids in Woodbridge but I have never seen anyone using it, why? I believe that it is because it would not be a pleasant experience. It isn't clean or safe (nor is it very pretty in its current condition.) One of the things that I have come to realize is that safe, attractive parks are one of the the quality of life elements that Detroit lacks. I love my hometown, but as long as I have a child at home I won't be back. I appreciate having school playgrounds, parks and nature trails available to for us to take advantage of. Other big cities have figured it out but between inefficiency and corruption Detroit hasn't. I recall some time ago a fee proposed for using Belle Isle was approved by voters but was somehow circumvented by City Council with some madness about how we shouldn't expect residents to pay anything to use a city resource. Well that has led to the current state where now the city can't even pay the minimum necessary for the poor maintenance that has been offered. How much better would the park system be if that fee had been implemented? Like so many wrongheaded decisions that have been made in the past it is still continuing to haunt our city.

  • 2

    We need the Civilian Conservation Corps again and the WPA.

    Paying people to just sit around is about as stupid as it gets.

    So now we are going to pay them to sit and watch the grass grow?



  • 3

    I agree, to eliminate that many parks seems like a very hasty (& probably unwise) decision.

  • 4

    Before I got involved in urban farming, my idea was to buy lots of land and create a memorial park (in my own honor, mind you). Mow the grass, plant some geraniums, maybe put a bird bath.... just some place to take care of. It's not too much to put upon the people to adopt a lot, and fence it and post signs with hours on it, or whatever.

  • 5

    @motown delta,

    There are neighborhoods in the city that are safe and have no parks ...Clearly not only should the city charge a toll tax for entry in the city but there should a charge for entry into Belle Ise as well..

    With regard to addtional revenues the city should access a fee for those using the Ambassor Bridge as well..Finally since our government is saving other nations we should demand our federal governent stop sending money to the Middle East nations and repair our homeland..

    We must get over the past and design a new city, a new nation right here right now...

    Residents like you who quit on the city are in part why urban venues flounder...

  • 6

    I wonder if Dave will give us one of those super rider-mowers as well as Lafayette Park.


  • 7

    Well, here it is, another nail in the coffin for the city. Bing decides to close the almost 80 parks. NOW? In the summer? That makes for a long hot summer and no where to cool off and relax. BAD MIX. Oh, perhaps that is his answer for less crime this summer? What is he thinking???

    Quit looking at the surrounding areas. They don't want us in their parks. They only rub shoulders with us when they have to.

    A toll or a fee is really not a good thing. Not many people want to come to Detroit as it is. They don't feel safe here. A toll will slam the door on any visitors or prospertive home buyers. Beside that, toll money would just be more funds for the politions to steal. They have already taken MILLIONS from Detroit with little or no repayments or punishments.

    Let's put a few of those little gardens on hold. Why not let the neighborhood take care of their park? A community needs a park, people are unemployed and could take on a little responsibilty. If you are getting any type of government check, surely, you can give some time back to your city. Somewhat like the WPA days. Thanks to "Island Architect". Disabled persons are exempt from physical labor. However, moral support would be welcome. We all need cheerleaders.

    We say we want to make our city better, this could be a step in the right direction. I believe it could happen. We have heard a lot of talk. However, as I have seen in the past, there will be some half baked reason why Bing and others would not like this idea. There is, of course, always a reason why a simple solution can not work. Until the citizens of Detroit start doing something, even on their own, No changes for the good will ever take place.

    Far too long we have cried for help. It is time for us to help ourselves. It is has already been proven, no one else wants to help us. Let's take our parks back.

  • 8

    The city taxpayers should demand the Bing Administration to start charging people to use Belle Isle and any other parks as well as charging tolls for entry into the city...

    Taxpayers should also have Bing refuse to send any tax revenues to the Federal Goverment to be spent in foreign wars and nations..

    Taxpayers should start having Bing demand revenues from the Airport that assists in dumping folks into the city ie. we should charge a fee for air flights over the city as well..and any Defense Companies which use the Airport to supply nations that have bought US Arms( Our government #1 arms dealer on the planet)..

    There is lots of $$$$$ the city should start to charge fees,etc for...

    To be continued......

  • 9

    One final thought the city should create a"risk exposure tax" for the city's location to the border as that location increases the risk of a national crisis (The Ambassador Bridge #1 trading port in USA)....

    There are unlimited ideas to raise revenues for the city...Bing should contract with my firm to assist him in this regard..

    BTW my firm has created 'Universal Candidacy" a paradigm for new leadership in the region not one of the usual non-profits or universities have created such a proposal for the record...

  • 10

    [...] since we all love Detroit parks, I want all my fellow LionsDetroit fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

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