Mayor: Red Pole Park is a go

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published September 13, 2017

File photo

SOUTHFIELD — The city of Southfield has successfully secured funding for a new interactive art installation called Red Pole Park.

In June, officials from the city and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced a crowdfunding campaign aimed at creating a new, interactive public art destination.

If the campaign reached its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by Aug. 4, the project was to earn a matching grant from the MDEC’s Public Spaces, Community Places program.

Southfield Mayor Ken Siver said recently that the city was successful in raising the funds.

“We’re thrilled that we met our goal and very appreciative of the residents and businesses that contributed,” Siver said. “We had many citizens step forward with small donations that helped us get over the top.”

In August, the Southfield City Council approved accepting the grant from the MEDC.

“The deal was that we had to raise $50,000 in order to qualify for the MEDC’s $50,000 grant. We raised $55,145, so we’re eligible for the grant,” Councilman Myron Frasier explained at the meeting. “When the grant comes in, we need the mayor and the city clerk to be able to sign for that.”

Public Spaces, Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Michigan Municipal League and Patronicity — a Michigan-based crowdfunding platform — according to city officials. In the program, residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of projects in their communities.

Called Red Pole Park, the installation will be located along the new walking and biking pathway along Northwestern Highway in the Southfield City Centre district.

City Planner Terry Croad said previously that the campaign is a continuation of the city’s efforts at making Southfield more pedestrian-friendly.

The new walkway, which officials have dubbed a “greenway,” will include a series of outdoor “rooms,” or installations, that pedestrians will experience when using the path. Red Pole Park will be the first “room” on the path.

Croad said previously that the park will be much like an art exhibit, made up of 25- to 30-foot poles painted red. Croad said the poles will look different from different angles.
Siver also said the city plans on installing several pieces of the Northland Art Collection along the pathway, in addition to the poles.

“Now that we’re past the Red Pole fundraising, we have work to do to get pieces from the Northland Collection repaired,” Siver said.

The city of Southfield purchased Northland Center in 2015 from the court-appointed receiver and is currently working on a plan to redevelop the site.

The receiver had looked at selling the 11-piece Northland Art Collection, which was estimated at a value of $500,000.

Siver, who spearheaded the creation of the Southfield Public Arts Commission last year, said previously that the city had secured a low-interest loan of $500,000 for the art pieces.

After the city secured the 11-piece collection, the Public Arts Commission launched the Free the Bear development campaign in 2016 to raise funds to pay back the loan, get the art out of storage and have it placed around the city. The fundraiser includes both a public crowdfunding component and corporate underwriting.

“We collected about $620,000 in donations for that, and $500,000 went to pay the loan back. With the other expenses, we have roughly $150,000 that we’re going to spend to repair these pieces and move them and secure them. It’s not enough for the whole collection, so we’ll continue to raise money, but we have enough to repair several pieces and get them out, so that’s what we’re working on right now.”

For project details, go to