Rochester Hills to celebrate 40 years with park transformations

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 6, 2024


ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Hills is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a large investment into its parks system.

During the 2024 Community Outlook Breakfast Feb. 29, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett announced the city is hoping to dedicate $27 million to revitalize four city parks — Brooklands, Nowicki, Bloomer and Spencer.

“My goal is that, in the next four years, Rochester Hills will have the greatest park system, not in Oakland County, not in Michigan, not in the Midwest, but when you think of premier parks in the United States of America, Rochester Hills will be one of the top communities you talk about,” Barnett said.

After more than two years of strategic planning and public input, Director of Parks and Natural Resources Ken Elwert said, the city is excited to move forward on expanded visions for the four parks.

“They include some of the most frequently requested amenities from our community, such as additional walking trails, access to water, a dog park (maybe two) as well as new and expanded playgrounds,” Elwert said in an email. “We are excited to dive into what’s next and expect to see development of some items as soon as 2025.”

Barnett unveiled concept designs inspired by several workshops, surveys and communications held with residents by the city’s Department of Parks and Natural Resources.

This year, he said, the city will begin work on Brooklands Park, next to the city’s first splash pad at 1585 E. Auburn Road.

“We’re envisioning a city center, a place to gather, a place to come together,” Barnett said.

Eugene S. Nowicki Park, which includes 35 acres of property in an area just across from Adams High School and north of the Village of Rochester Hills, is currently a blank canvas that city officials are hoping more residents will begin to use after it’s reimagined.

“The city’s first dog park is being planned there, (along with) boardwalks, playgrounds and everything innovative. Think Innovation Hills, in the way we have developed that, with an attention to detail and an attention to folks of all abilities and resources,” Barnett said.

Over at Bloomer Park, a 200-acre park located at 345 John R Road in Rochester Hills, Barnett said residents could soon see “a reimagined river interface along with skywalks for people to visit and view the natural landscape and wildlife.”

Spencer Park, located at 3701 John R Road, will also see some updates over the next couple of years.

“We’re talking about bringing people into the lake, or unique experiences to get them over the water and interfacing in new and engaging ways to create new places to play and experience family moments,” Barnett said.

City officials say the four park projects will offer residents renewed opportunities for exercise, exploration and connection with nature.

For more information about any of the projects, call the city of Rochester Hills at (248) 656-4600.