McKinley Park welcomes residents for summer programs

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published July 25, 2023

 Fraser-area children can take part in several new art programs in which they can paint rocks, decorate bird houses and more.

Fraser-area children can take part in several new art programs in which they can paint rocks, decorate bird houses and more.

Photo provided by Christine Koch


FRASER — Two programs are coming to Fraser’s McKinley Barrier-Free Park in August to provide family-friendly activities for local children.

The first will be the Arts in the Park program. Organized by the Fraser Parks and Recreation Department, this will offer opportunities for families to take part in some arts and crafts programs.

“There will be four dates,” said Fraser Parks and Recreation Commissioner Christine Koch. “The first is making bird feeders using peanut butter on July 26 from 1-3 p.m. We also will be painting rocks on Aug. 2 from 6-8 p.m. We will paint houses on Aug. 9, also from 6-8 p.m. Everyone will get to make a birthday card on Aug. 18 from 1-3 p.m. All days are free. We just need the parents to stay and help and monitor their kids. People can show up without any need to register.”

She added that she particularly likes the rock-painting day since she has led two programs using painted rocks to help beautify the community this year.

“We have a rock snake at McKinley Park that has grown as people have added rocks that they’ve painted,” said Koch. “It’s now about halfway around the garden. We also started a kindness area at City Hall and people can put their painted rocks there as well.”

Members of the community can add rocks painted to celebrate their community or spread positive emotions to either display whether they take part in the Aug. 2 program or not.

The second program is free play days organized by Advancing Macomb, a countywide leadership program.

“The organization is Advancing Macomb who will be running these programs. The Fraser First Booster Club was contacted by Thomas Barnes who is a part of that group and he spoke to us about starting this,” said Vania Apps, the founder and executive board member of the Fraser First Booster Club. “Our (city’s) parks and rec department is aiding with this as well. Fraser First is mostly providing volunteers for it.”

The program will offer free play days on Tuesdays for no cost. A separate camp will also be offered at Fraser’s Steffens Park for a fee on Sundays.

“They are going to bring sporting and play equipment to the park. They will then do a camp called Breaking Barriers to Play at Steffens Park as well, which starts Aug. 6 and ends Sept. 17. All will be from 6-7:30 p.m. The age group is 5-13 years old for both. The event at Steffens Park is $55 per child, but you get some additional materials for the cost. The McKinley Park program is free to those who attend.”

The free program runs on Tuesdays, Sept. 5 to Oct. 24, from 6-7:30 p.m. Those wishing to register for the programs can do so by going to

McKinley Park is located at 31500 Grove Street. Steffens Park is located at 33000 Garfield Road. The programs will allow children to play different sports and take part in outdoor activities.

“They will have coaches, equipment for different sports, and plenty of mentoring for the kids,” said Apps. “It’s open to any child from the area. During free play, there will be some basic lessons and organizing games like soccer and flag football.”

She is hopeful these programs also will help put some minor acts of vandalism in the park to rest.

“I’m excited about these new programs being at McKinley Park,” said Apps. “We recently had some mild vandalism from some bored teens. The city has been working with us on some new signage and contacting neighbors of the park to contact us if they see it happening. They are even working on a way people can send the police videos if they catch it happening in the act. The more activities at the park, the fewer chances there is for vandalism like this to happen.”

Apps believes that these programs will be a great way for local kids to get outside and get active.

“We’re excited to be working with Advancing Macomb. We think we will learn a lot working with them,” she said. “The free play event is at no cost and it’s a good way to introduce them to new sports and have them meet new kids their own age.”

“Come out and have some fun,” added Koch. “We haven’t had a lot of outdoor activities this summer, so this is the perfect chance to get outside.”