Pictured is a rendering of the new Lathrup Village Municipal play structure.

Pictured is a rendering of the new Lathrup Village Municipal play structure.

Lathrup, Main Street Oakland County partner to renovate local park

Fundraiser created to close funding gap

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published August 24, 2023


LATHRUP VILLAGE — In partnership with the city of Lathrup Village, the Lathrup Village Downtown Development Authority and Main Street Oakland County, Lathrup Village City Hall and Municipal Park are getting a much-needed makeover thanks to a grant from the Revitalization and Placemaking program.

The federal Revitalization and Placemaking program was launched last year to provide a boost of $100 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to help relieve the effects of COVID-19 on communities in Michigan.

Now that the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has disbursed all the funds with projects in progress through 2026, the second phase is underway with another $100 million for revitalization and placemaking.

According to Susie Stec, Lathrup Village’s director of community and economic development and downtown development authority, 13 other Main Street communities are participating in this project. Stec had previously applied for various grants to raise funds to improve the parks in Lathrup Village. It was when Main Street Oakland County reached out to its communities to see which ones would be interested in applying for the grant that Stec was able to secure funding for improvements at Municipal Park and City Hall.

Main Street Oakland County was established in 2000 to amplify commerce in downtowns while also preserving the historic elements using a four-point approach: design, organization, promotion and economic vitality. Stec shared that John Bry, Main Street Oakland County’s program coordinator, was a great resource for securing this grant and “really spearheaded the whole initiative.”

Bry stated the Main Street program allows their communities to receive as much or as little input from them as they’d like.

“Each downtown has needs that are unique to them. Over the last 40 to 50 years, some needs have changed, especially with technology. We always have to be changing to adapt to those needs. For example, as a result of the pandemic, we launched an e-commerce platform for downtown businesses to use to sell their products online.”

The renovation will include a new playground, re-landscaping of the flower beds, and reconstruction of the parking lot. The current playground at the municipal lot will be completely gutted, and in its place, a larger play structure will be built, with shredded tire mulch, safety tabs made for wheelchair accessibility, climbing features, swings and slides.

The project is set to cost around $860,000, and construction is slated to begin as early as the spring. Between the city, the DDA and Main Street Oakland County, just over $400,000 is allocated to the project. The grant will match the other half. However, Lathrup Village is still about $20,000 short, so Stec took it upon herself to create a fundraiser to bridge the gap. The fundraiser can be found at www.patronicity.com/project/municipal_park_renovation.

There is a small credit card processing fee on Patronicity, so those wishing to avoid extra fees can mail in or drop off their donation to the city of Lathrup Village, 27400 Southfield Road, and add “Attention to Municipal Park Renovation.”

All donations are tax-deductible and will be collected by Nov. 1.

Stec shared that the idea to polish up the municipal center came last fall during the DDA’s trunk or treat, where hundreds of children visited the lot, and she noticed that they needed a better place to play.

“I’m most excited for the kids. They really needed an awesome place to play.”