New City-Community Partnership to Keep Parks Open

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DETROIT — Joined by representatives of dozens of churches, community organizations and local businesses, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced today a new partnership that will result in a dramatic increase in the number of city parks that will be fully maintained throughout the year.

Of the city’s more than 300 parks, only about 25 across the city were regularly maintained last season. This year, Duggan said the city is committing to maintain 150 parks and has doubled its number of seasonal workers from 75 to more than 150 to do just that.

However, the real difference, Mayor Duggan said, is the number of community organizations that have volunteered to adopt city parks – and maintain them at a level equal to city crews.

Duggan said that he has commitments from 65 community organizations and businesses, which will maintain a city park this year, bringing to 215 the number of parks that Detroiters can count on being groomed throughout the summer.

“If people want to see how real the change is in the city of Detroit, this partnership is the perfect example,”  Duggan said.  “These community volunteer groups have stepped up in a huge way to help the city give Detroiters back their neighborhood parks this year.”

Among those who have adopted a park this year is Greater Mitchell Temple COGIC on Curtis near Schaefer. The church sits next to Diack Park — one of the parks the city abandoned last year.  Bishop John Henry Sheard, jumped at the idea of adopting Diack Park when the Mayor’s staff approached him earlier this year.

“The Mayor understands how important neighborhood parks are to making our city a place where people want to live,” Bishop Sheard said.  “It improves quality of life.  It improves property values, and it improves public safety.  Because of the Mayor’s commitment to recreation, families across our city will be able to know their children will have a safe, convenient place to play this summer.”

Organizations that adopt parks agree to mow and weed their park every 10-14 days from May 1 until Oct.  31. They also agree to keep the park free of trash during that time frame.

In exchange, the city will install a sign at each park with the name of the organization or business that has adopted it. Volunteer organizations also will get first option for use of the park they have adopted for any events it wishes to host there.

They also will produce a weekly report card that will be shared among each of the participating groups to create a culture of mutual support and accountability.  In addition to grading the condition of the park, the report card also will highlight examples where the group adopting the park has gone above and beyond to improve the appearance of the park.

The city also will support the volunteers by picking up bags of debris and assisting organizations that want to enhance the park by adding play equipment, picnic tables, basketball courts, walking paths, etc.

In addition, each adopting organization has to sign an agreement, committing to the high level of maintenance at the park.

Mayor Duggan said there are a 21 parks that are suitable and eligible for adoption, which are listed on the city’s website at detroitmi.gov.  For further information on the Adopt-A-Park Program, call 313-224-1258.

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