Leadership group invests in Freedom Hill park

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 24, 2014

Taking the initiative was a walk in the park recently for a group of county business, nonprofit and civic leaders.

Members of the Leaders Advancing Macomb board gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 20 at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights.

According to its members, LAM strives to improve the county’s communities and their ability to help residents do business, innovate, have fun and more. The group recently announced that it spent around $25,000 to upgrade Freedom Hill’s playground amenities, landscaping, walking paths and storm water system.

Companies that helped with the improvements include Florence Cement Co.  Inc. in Shelby Township and Ultimate Lawn Services in Chesterfield Township.

LAM Chairman David Girodat, who also is president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank for Eastern Michigan, said LAM was founded in 2013 under the guidance of Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

Girodat said LAM is looking to be a philanthropic organization that can support community development, enhance natural resources and potentially drive business opportunities. He called the park upgrades the group’s first true investment and one that will improve recreation capabilities.

“Today is an example of a small accomplishment, but you got to start somewhere, put some money into a great asset,” he said. “Freedom Hill is a great community product — services all of Macomb County — that needed things that dollars weren’t available for.”

Girodat said Freedom Hill is both a great amphitheater and a great park. Besides the playscape, walkway and storm water improvements, he said plans are in the works for some bike racks and benches soon.

Overall, LAM members said the project was a great step in their mission to seek out places to invest in the county, he said.

“It goes back to making Macomb your home, and how do we make Macomb County resonate with everybody else the same way we see it as leaders,” he said.

Before the ribbon-cutting, Hackel called Freedom Hill not just a quality-of-life asset for Macomb County but a regional and even national entertainment venue. Although the amphitheater is privately run, Freedom Hill County Park is managed by Macomb County.

“This isn’t just about the county government. This isn’t just about LAM,” Hackel said. “This is about organizations coming together trying to provide better opportunities.”

Freedom Hill County Park is located at 15000 Metropolitan Parkway in Sterling Heights. Learn more by visiting www.macomb countymi.gov. Find out more about Leaders Advancing Macomb by visiting www.advancingmacomb.com.