Rosie’s Park recently added a disc golf course to its offerings, part of the city’s ongoing efforts to give people more to do in the parks.

Rosie’s Park recently added a disc golf course to its offerings, part of the city’s ongoing efforts to give people more to do in the parks.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Madison Heights continues to make progress in the parks

Recent disc golf course at Rosie’s Park to be followed by new playscapes, pavilion

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published June 29, 2022


MADISON HEIGHTS — New playscapes are coming to Rosie’s Park and Civic Center Park, and a new pavilion is in the works for Rosie’s Park, as well. Along with the disc golf course that recently opened at Rosie’s Park, the changes represent efforts by the Madison Heights City Council to improve quality of life in the community’s green spaces.

The new playscape at Rosie’s Park, located at 1111 E. Farnum Ave., began construction over the winter and is set to be complete within the next two months. Sean Ballantine, the public works supervisor for the city of Madison Heights, said in an email that the structure will be identical to the one in Edison Park, but with different colors. The last three large playscapes that the city installed featured ramped platforms with play features, standalone climbers and rockers, swings and slides.

The playscape coming to Civic Center Park, located behind Madison Heights City Hall, north of 13 Mile Road and west of John R Road, is similar, but its progress has been slower due to ongoing supply chain issues. That structure will be bid in the coming months and assembled next spring. Each playscape is now made with accessibility in mind, something that was championed by the late Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett.

“With all of our large playscapes, we bid them based on (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility and compliance, to provide play and access for those patrons with limited mobility, but also a balanced feature mix for those who are fully-abled,” Ballantine said. “We also identify a variety of features to provide play for a large age group, from toddlers to teenagers.”

In terms of funding, the playscape at Rosie’s Park was pushed forward one season due to the availability of a matching grant from the manufacturer. The city typically phase-funds large projects over multiple years, allowing the city to save up without straining the annual budget, which is how the city was able to leverage the matching grant. The playscape planned for Civic Center Park has been budgeted at $225,000.

As for the new pavilion at Rosie’s Park, that project is currently being bid and could be installed as early as this fall, although supply chain issues may delay it to next spring. Ballantine said the pavilion is a “long-desired” item for the park, and $75,000 has been allowed for it, which will include the pavilion itself, planned to be about 50 feet by 30 feet, with picnic tables inside, along with electrical connections for lighting and outlets, and the necessary concrete flatwork to create the slab that connects it to the trail system.

“The final location is yet to be determined,” Ballantine said.

The most recent addition to Rosie’s Park was the disc golf course, which opened last month. Designed by Larry Leonardi of Essential Discs, it features nine holes, starting at the northwest corner of the park by the Gardenia Avenue entrance.

The disc golf course is 100% grant funded, with $9,300 from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and another $3,000 from the Community Advisory Board.   

“The disc golf course was something that was identified in the city’s parks and recreation master plan,” said Adam Owczarzak, assistant to the city manager of Madison Heights, in an email. “Our (Department of Public Services) staff was tasked with getting quotes for a disc golf course to be put in for budget requests down the road, but we were able to move it forward a couple of years due to the grant opportunity.”

In total, the city budget for fiscal year 2023 allocates $645,000 in additional parks investment, including $50,000 for a special project allocation.

“This special project funding can be carried forward into future budget years to ‘save’ for a major park enhancement, or utilized to match grant opportunities for new features,” Owczarzak said. “The city is also pursuing grants to offset some, if not all costs of future park enhancements.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, said that she often hears from residents about what they want from the parks.

“The residents I talk to want to see options for residents of all abilities in the parks,” the mayor said via email. “I have also heard great things about the new disc golf course at Rosie’s, with a few residents who now work from home going over to take breaks and play the course during the day.”

She emphasized that making sure everyone can enjoy the parks is important.

“Over time, I would like to see the amenities in all our parks be accessible to residents of all ages and abilities,” Grafstein said.

Toya Aaron, the newest member of the Madison Heights City Council, said she’s “elated” that the disc golf course is available as another low-cost way for families to have fun. She also sees educational potential at the playground.

“The additions of the playscapes are a much-needed resource, and I am glad to see them being added,” Aaron said via email. “I would like to see more thematic playgrounds at our parks. I am always about educating our children, and themed playgrounds can make learning fun and engaging for the young mind. Plus, it helps to inspire imaginative play, and allows children to create the ultimate outdoor adventure.

“I remember waking up on a Saturday morning and spending all day at the school playground because there was so much to do,” she said. “I wish to make the outdoors fun again for our children, and bring back the excitement of going to the neighborhood park. I would also like to see more family night events at the parks — perhaps weekly movie nights, and outdoor concerts, game nights or even a food taste festival. Each event could be held at a different park, so that neighbors could attend close to their home.”

Emily Rohrbach, a member of the Madison Heights City Council, said that the parks have been a personal priority for her as a parent of young children.

“Much of the funding for projects like Huffman Park’s Fitness Court, the disc golf course and Rosie’s playscape are coming from grants and private funding to make these investments possible,” Rohrbach said in an email. “I can’t say enough good things about our city staff who are always on the lookout for available grant funding that will help the city better serve our residents.”