Hazel ParkSeptember 19, 2012
CityEdge Church, community unite to make library patio
Finished patio will serve as new gathering place in Hazel Park
By Andy Kozlowski
Avery Keyser, 4, of Ferndale, shovels some dirt while waiting for the cement truck to arrive to fill in the new patio at Hazel Park Memorial Library on Sept. 1.
The following volunteers contributed to the library patio project at Hazel Park Memorial Library, 123 E. Nine Mile:
Hazel Park Library Friends
Coney Cravers (fundraising efforts)
Detroit Ready Mix Concrete
John Sarns and his mother
Jim and Donna Sterner
HAZEL PARK — It’s been an emotional roller coaster for Jessica Keyser.
The director of the Hazel Park Memorial Library, 123 E. Nine Mile, has long dreamed of a public patio outside the library that could serve as a new gathering place in the city.
The idea was to take the garden next to HPML, with its eight flowerbeds and profusion of plant species, and scale it back, installing a 1,500-square-foot patio with an aesthetically appealing café feel and featuring four tables with four chairs each.
The patio would be handicap-accessible and prove an ideal place to sit and relax, mingle with members of the community and access the library’s wireless Internet.
It wasn’t uncommon to see a dozen kids piled on the lone picnic table in the garden after school, either, so this would prove a more accommodating substitute.
The project began to take off under the guidance of the Hazel Park Library Friends, with donations from the community, including $150 from CityEdge Church. But then Keyser hit a roadblock, and it seemed the venture had turned into a pipe dream.
“The cost turned out to be too high,” Keyser said. “At that point, we felt like we were out of options and we would table the whole project. I was very upset about it.”
She tearfully went to CityEdge Church to tell them the project was prohibitively expensive, and she wanted to return their donation. The church meets in the lower level of the Methodist church at 315 E. Nine Mile, across the street from the library, at 7 p.m. on Sunday nights.
The church was founded by Lyle Hayman, a Hazel Park resident, and Pastor Craig Brundage last April when they started having Bible studies in Hayman’s backyard. Last September, they started meeting at the Methodist church.
CityEdge is a nondenominational Christian community, an outreach church focused on serving the community. They’ve been painting playground equipment in city parks and working on food baskets for their neighbors. They also renovated the game room in the community center and facilitate a teen drop-in there every fourth Friday of the month.
When Keyser said they had to call off the patio project, CityEdge saw another opportunity to step in and do good. The church had already started pulling plants and rocks from the library garden to prepare it for the cement. They had been involved ever since they first read about the project in the Madison-Park News.
“She (Keyser) called me up, in tears, and wanted to know if there was any way we could put the garden back in and make it look nice, since they had canceled,” Hayman recalled. “I said, ‘Jessica, we can’t do that. The community is too excited about this. We have to go forward. Let’s do some praying and throw it out to the church and to different people in the community, and let’s see what happens. You never know how God works.’”
Then, what Hayman described as a series of miracles took place.
First, they were able to recalculate the costs so that the library could purchase the basic materials at a much more affordable cost. CityEdge would supply the equipment and labor, bringing out the bulldozer and such.
Next, Eric Trogden, a Hazel Park resident and member of the church, called in to donate the sand for the base, eliminating that item from the budget. He also did much of the skilled labor himself, such as smoothing out the cement.
Then, a large donation of woodchip mulch came in the day they needed it for landscaping, from Tree Barber in Lake Orion.
Finally, at the last minute, the man handling their cement, Larry Holman, decided to chip in $500 himself, effectively cutting the cost in half.
Much of the construction was done over Labor Day weekend, following a blueprint drafted by Hazel Park’s planning director, Jeff Campbell. Inquiring minds from the community kept approaching the scene to ask if help was needed, and many lent a hand here and there, some for hours at a time.
Now the basic structure of the patio is in place, and at press time, the library was planning to set up some basic chairs and tables on loan from the city, until they could finalize the details for new ones. The library is still accepting donations for these, as well as for knockout roses to be planted in berms around the patio.
“They (CityEdge Church) brought a lot of talent,” Keyser said. “It’s amazing because it cost a lot less money than we anticipated, which saves our Friends group money, and it looked better in the end than if we had just hired someone to do it. It’s truly exciting and energizing to work with the wonderful volunteers who helped us.”
Hayman said he’s happy to see the patio come through.
“It’s an inspiration,” Hayman said. “The community right now is so down because of property values being down. With all the excitement generated by this, we couldn’t let it go back. There is light out there — we just have to keep walking toward it. We have a lot more progress, though, so stay tuned.”
Hazel Park Memorial Library is located at 123 E. Nine Mile and can be reached at (248) 546-4095. CityEdge Church meets in the lower level of the Methodist church at 315 E. Nine Mile at 7 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, call (248) 765-4361 or visit www.thecityedge.org.