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 A rendering by Nowak & Fraus Engineers shows the proposed development of the new Normandy Oaks Park in Royal Oak.

A rendering by Nowak & Fraus Engineers shows the proposed development of the new Normandy Oaks Park in Royal Oak.

Image provided by the city of Royal Oak

Normandy Oaks Park scheduled to open in 2020

Clawson in need of youth sports volunteers

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published January 21, 2020


ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — Spring and summer are already on the minds of Royal Oak and Clawson officials in terms of parks and programming.

Outgoing Royal Oak Director of Public Services and Recreation Greg Rassel said he is most looking forward to the completion of Normandy Oaks Park in 2020.

Clawson Director of Recreation and Senior Services Kathy Leenhouts is putting out a call for youth sports volunteers.


Royal Oak
Rassel said he anticipated the opening of Normandy Oaks Park to take place in early summer. Unusually soggy spring conditions hampered park construction in 2019.

Phase one of the city-owned golf-course-turned-park will include a sled hill, a pavilion with restrooms, a parking lot, a splash pad, a playground, a soccer field and the start of the nature trail. Phase two, funded by a $1.1 million allocation from Oakland County Parks and Recreation, will follow and include a nature area, a pedestrian bridge connecting Normandy Oaks Park to Elks Park, and the completion of the trail system.

In 2014, Royal Oak shuttered the 50-acre golf course and voters approved the sale of a 10-acre parcel to fund the development of the park. Robertson Brothers Properties purchased the land to develop townhouses and single-family homes.

The city received approximately $3.8 million gross on the sale and earmarked $3 million for the park and the rest for improvements at the Royal Oak Golf Course.

The city currently is wrapping up park-improvement projects at Sullivan Park, Wendland Park, Fulton Park and Huntington Woods Park, which were funded by Community Development Block Grant dollars. It also made improvements to Kenwood Park. In 2020, Royal Oak plans to make CDBG park improvements at Franklin Park and Lawson Park.

Rassel will retire Jan. 31, and he has been training his replacement, Aaron Filipski, since October. Russell has been with the city of Royal Oak for 22 years. He was hired in 1997 as superintendent of public works and became director in 2004.

“Royal Oak has a much higher profile from all the construction downtown (from when I started),” he said. “We’ve made a significant investment in parks, and we got through some really tough times since the downturn of 2009. We made good strides over the last couple of years.”

He said he planned to do more traveling in his retirement and feels confident in Filipski’s ability to lead the department.

Filipski previously served as public services manager in Birmingham and has experience with elevated lead levels in service lines, an issue Royal Oak is now dealing with.

On Oct. 26, Royal Oak issued a public advisory about lead levels in the city’s water, which were detected after the state modified the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act’s Lead and Copper Rule in 2018 to make standards for testing more rigorous.

Eight sites in the city exceeded concentration levels of more than 15 parts per billion — the concentration deemed “action level.” The 90th percentile value of the samples was 23 ppb.

The city estimates that approximately 6%, or 1,400 service lines, of the city’s 23,741 total service connections were constructed with lead or materials containing lead.

Filipski said the city has to replace all of the service lines containing lead and that it has 20 years to do so unless the city finds fewer than it expects.

“Our goal is to do 100 per year and start this calendar year,” said Filipski.

He said the state classified two types of material technically as lead — galvanized steel pipe that still does or used to connect to lead but does not contain lead on its own, and actual lead. He said connections with actual lead would take priority and that the city currently has identified approximately 100 such service lines.

Filipski encouraged all homeowners to check their service lines for potential lead and report the material to the city either way, so the city could develop a more comprehensive database.

To learn more about lead and lead testing, visit or call (248) 246-3999.


During the Jan. 7 Clawson City Council meeting, Leenhouts gave an overview of upcoming recreational opportunities in the city.

“We have really great opportunities for our youth and our youth sports programs. Those are all run by volunteers, and those groups all need volunteers,” she said. “Youth baseball and softball are in dire need of volunteers, coaches — just all sorts of positions.”

Registration for recreational youth soccer will end Feb. 14, and games will run April 11 through June 12. Registration for Mavericks youth football’s 50th season will begin March 1 and offer flag and tackle football and cheerleading for children ages 6 to 14.

Leenhouts introduced a new fitness room at Hunter Community Center for residents and nonresidents. The pay-as-you-go cost to use it is $9 per month.

At 3 p.m. Feb. 1, the annual daddy-daughter dance will take place at the Hunter Community Center. Tickets cost $20 per couple and $5 for each additional daughter.

At 3 p.m. March 28, the mother-son superhero party will take place at the Hunter Community Center. Tickets cost $20 per couple and $5 for each additional son.

The Hunter Community Center is located at 509 Fisher Court, near Main Street and 14 Mile Road. For more information, call (248) 589-0334.