Salter Park, in Harper Woods, will receive some new updates alongside fellow community parks Johnston Park and Danbury Park thanks to a county grant.

Salter Park, in Harper Woods, will receive some new updates alongside fellow community parks Johnston Park and Danbury Park thanks to a county grant.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Wayne County grant money to update parks in Harper Woods

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published February 2, 2018

 A grant of $22,000, and another grant of at least $30,000 coming later in 2018, will pay for new equipment in Harper Woods public spaces, including Danbury Park, pictured.

A grant of $22,000, and another grant of at least $30,000 coming later in 2018, will pay for new equipment in Harper Woods public spaces, including Danbury Park, pictured.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

HARPER WOODS — Harper Woods’ parks will be getting some updates thanks to a grant from Wayne County.

A $22,000 grant will allow for new playground equipment and some facilities to be upgraded this year. The changes will affect Salter Park, Johnston Park and Danbury Park.

“It’s just an additional piece at each park and removing some old equipment,” said Harper Woods Parks and Recreation Director John Bobak. “We’re putting in something to freshen up each place. We have a Ten Spin going in at Johnston and Salter, which is like a merry-go-round that you can spin yourself. At Danbury, we have a jungle climber for kids to climb on and pieces to move around.”

The money is coming from a county parks millage that is distributed to various public spaces throughout Wayne County. Tim Killeen, the county commissioner for District 1, which includes Harper Woods, said he wanted to ensure that the community got its share of the funds.

“We have a parks millage for county parks in Wayne County,” said Killeen. “That brings in about $10 million to $11 million each year. Each commissioner gets about $100,000 each year for parks in their district. I allocate those out between Harper Woods and the east side of Detroit based on needs, so I make sure I am covering all of my district communities.”

The Harper Woods Parks and Recreation Department determined where the most need was in the community.

“The Harper Woods Parks and Recreation Department decided what the specific changes would be,” said Bobak. “If the grant was of a larger amount, we would get input from the City Council and city residents, but this was just more of a refresher for our parks instead of a major overhaul of any of the parks. All three parks get a change to their playscapes to keep them fresh and give families something new.”

Wayne County Commission officials said additional parks funding from the county millage is planned to go to Harper Woods later in 2018 as well.

“They do a great job in Harper Woods, and every three years or so we make sure they get support,” Killeen said. “Another $30,000 to $40,000 later on in the 2017-2018 financial year from the parks millage fund will also go to Harper Woods for future projects and updates. This is because for the 2016-2017 allocation we put $40,000 into Algonquin Park, near Mack Avenue (in Detroit), and another $30,000 for Balduck Park, near Warren and Mack Avenue (also in Detroit). The remaining $22,000 was given to Harper Woods, which was a little less than usual, so we wanted to put more money into that community the subsequent fiscal year so they could finish up some projects.”

The additions to Salter, Johnston and Danbury parks are planned to take place in the spring.

“We found out in July or August that we would receive this money this year,” said Bobak. “Depending on the weather, (the improvements) will be put in in the spring. If we’re lucky, in the month of April.”

Bobak and Killeen agreed that making sure funding is secured for local parks is a crucial component to ensuring communities are safe, happy and enriching places to live. 

“Harper Woods always puts great thought into their parks,” remarked Killeen. “They do fantastic projects and have a great Little League there. It’s up to Harper Woods to decide how to spend it, but I want to make sure they have the resources they need to maintain quality parks there and add improvements for people. Whether it’s new restrooms or new playground equipment, people deserve to get improvements to quality public spaces.”