Hazel ParkJuly 26, 2013
Local church works to improve Tuski Park
By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer
HAZEL PARK — About a year ago, CityEdge Church made an offer to Hazel Park’s Department of Public Works: Let us do some painting in the parks.
One of the parks they were assigned was Tuski Memorial Park, at the corner of Vassar and Tucker, east of John R and south of Woodward Heights. Over the months, they’ve been repainting the playground equipment there, not only at Tuski Park, but also Green Acres and Scout Park. The old paint was flaking and peeling, so they scraped it all off and primed the equipment for a fresh coat.
This got them thinking about what else they could do at Tuski Park.
“We started looking at Tuski Park because it’s close to the church, and because of the young families and the kids in the neighborhood,” said Lyle Hayman, of Hazel Park, CityEdge cofounder and church elder. “It’s a smaller, more intimate park. It was an area we felt we should target, where we could make a difference in the community.”
CityEdge, whose motto is “No perfect people allowed,” was established in April 2012 when they started having Bible studies in Hayman’s backyard. Last September, they began meeting at the Methodist church across the street from the Hazel Park library.
A nondenominational Christian community, CityEdge is an outreach church focused on serving others. Aside from their work in the city parks, they also renovated the game room at the Hazel Park Recreation Center, constructed the patio at the library and delivered Thanksgiving dinners to people in need. They have a history of helping individuals in the community, as well as hurricane victims and others out of state.
When it came to improving Tuski Park beyond a coat of paint, CityEdge approached the situation from the standpoint of both aesthetics and utility.
They started by cleaning up the playground and digging holes around the equipment, which they filled with sand for a fall zone. They did so with a donation of $10,000 worth of sand from Eric Trogden and his company, Diamond Contracting.
After installing the sand and making minor repairs to the playground equipment, CityEdge began work on the “welcome center” near the park sign at Tucker and Vassar.
Using broken concrete provided by the Department of Public Works, the church created a curved retaining wall around the sign. Then, the church did some landscaping work, forming a berm with leftover sod and arranging plants in front of the retaining wall.
On July 20, aggregate was poured for two patios — one at the corner, with a flowerbed in the middle, and another behind the sign, with two picnic tables on top. And that is just the beginning.
Next, they’re planning to dig out a full-sized volleyball court and fill it with what’s left of the sand they received, but before they install the sand, CityEdge will call in the Fire Department or residents to water it all down for a mud hole — and then invite the kids in the neighborhood for some sloppy fun.
“We’ll probably have this event alongside a barbecue,” said Pastor Craig Brundage, CityEdge cofounder along with Hayman. “We’ve already talked to the kids and some parents about it, and they loved the idea.”
Other future events may include water wars, “trunk-or-treating” (trick-or-treating out of car trunks), movie nights and ongoing barbecues provided by the outreach faith group Elevate Detroit, which will be hosting a barbecue at the park on the second Saturday of every month.
“This is not for us as a church,” Brundage said. “This is how we can serve the city in the community, and that’s much of why we chose Tuski Park — because it is very much a community park, surrounded by homes on all four sides.”
The final park addition would be the construction of a pavilion in the southeast portion of the park, where residents would be free to hold family gatherings and such. Barb Scott, the city’s recreation coordinator, would help oversee this particular project. CityEdge estimates the pavilion will be built sometime next year, and they’re currently looking for someone who could draft a design.
CityEdge hasn’t had to pay for much of the work; most of the costs are covered by donations from city employees, neighbors and local businesses. Of the concrete they’ll pay for, CityEdge is receiving a reduced price of a third off, thanks to Holman Construction Company. The large timber for the volleyball poles and playground equipment was donated by BT Commercial Services, which will save CityEdge hundreds of dollars. And Kilburn’s Equipment Rental provided several machines to use, such as a Bobcat tractor, Dingo scooper and a compactor.
“They’ve all been instrumental in allowing us to get this job done,” Brundage said. “We didn’t know how we were going to do all of this, but God knows. And as he provides us the resources, we’ve been trying to step forward and implement them. We want to serve others, and believe that by serving others, we’re serving God. There is life in a community park; we just want to add to the vitality there.”
CityEdge Church meets in the lower level of Hazel Park Methodist at 315 E. Nine Mile, across the street from the library, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday nights. For more information, call (248) 765-4361 or visit www.thecityedge.org.
Call Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at (586) 279-1104.