The city of Berkley will look to continue improvements at the former Oxford/Merchants Park with a new pavilion, picnic tables, shading, more walking paths and play equipment for toddlers.

The city of Berkley will look to continue improvements at the former Oxford/Merchants Park with a new pavilion, picnic tables, shading, more walking paths and play equipment for toddlers.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Berkley to celebrate grand opening, new name at former Oxford/Merchants space

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published June 9, 2021

  Berkley will open Oxford Park at a special event June 11. The event will include the opening of the city’s splash pad.

Berkley will open Oxford Park at a special event June 11. The event will include the opening of the city’s splash pad.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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BERKLEY — The city of Berkley will be holding a grand opening for a new park formerly known as Oxford/Merchants Park.

The opening for Berkley’s new park will take place at 4 p.m. Friday, June 11, at 2100 Bacon Ave. and will include a ribbon-cutting.

Berkley has been trying to update the former Oxford/Merchants Park since the city was able to acquire the Oxford land from the school district in 2014. For seven years, the city undertook a lengthy process to create and implement a vision for what that space would become.

The park improvement process included applying for many grants that pushed its development off for many years. This is why, Mayor Dan Terbrack said, the park improvements didn’t happen right away.

Terbrack called the project one that took a lot of work, effort and coordination to get done, and he credited the residents and the Parks and Recreation Department for their involvement in the process.

“For it to actually come to fruition — especially coming off of what everybody dealt with in 2020 and are still kind of dealing with here in 2021 — to be able to have a space we can open that’s safe and that our community’s going to be able to enjoy, I mean, I would never say that there was anything really great that happened with 2020, but being able to do this now is so incredible and important and just perfect,” he said.

The grand opening of the park will feature the unveiling of the splash pad, new playground equipment, new walking paths, a seating area, benches and restrooms.

Those installations came as part of the first phase of improvements for the park. The city eventually will be adding a pavilion, picnic tables, shading, more walking paths and play equipment for toddlers.

“I’m really happy for the city, for the community,” said Parks and Recreation Director Theresa McArleton. “There’s still more steps to come, but this is certainly the biggest step to having the park open for play, and I think the timing of it being coming into the summer … and also given the last year that we’ve all had, I think it’s really great timing for something like this.”

“I think our parks, both last year and this year, have honestly been places people have felt safer to gather, and I think people are looking to be together in a safe way and with the community,” she continued. “I think in that way having this new space to do that in is exciting, and that is fortuitous.”

In April, Berkley held a community contest for residents to submit new names for the park. The names were reviewed by a committee of residents from the Recreation Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation Department staff and City Manager Matt Baumgarten. The names were sent to the City Council, which ultimately made the final decision.

The park will be renamed Oxford Park. Terbrack said that he was happy with the name.

“The name fits well with what we’re trying to convey with this new space,” he said.

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