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 The entrance, equipment and seating at Wildwood Park have been improved to accommodate people of all ability levels. The project was funded with a matching grant from the state. The city defrayed the cost of its own contribution with in-kind labor from the Department of Public Services.

The entrance, equipment and seating at Wildwood Park have been improved to accommodate people of all ability levels. The project was funded with a matching grant from the state. The city defrayed the cost of its own contribution with in-kind labor from the Department of Public Services.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


New accessible playscape complete at Wildwood Park

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published July 1, 2020

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Wildwood Park is now upgraded with accessible play structures, accessible tables and an accessible park entrance, making it a welcoming destination for residents and visitors of all ability levels.

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor pro tem of Madison Heights, cut the ribbon on the overhauled park during a special ceremony June 25. She was accompanied by Emily Rohrbach, a fellow member of the Madison Heights City Council.

“Due to foot surgery I had (in recent weeks), I am in a position where I can appreciate the accessibility more than I would have a month earlier,” Grafstein said. “It is important as we continue to upgrade our public spaces that we take into account the various levels of abilities of our residents.”

Wildwood Park is located on the south side of Greig Avenue, just east of John R Road and south of 11 Mile Road, between Delton and Osmun streets. The existing playground was installed in the early-to-mid ‘90s and was well past its service life, officials said.

In 2017, the city of Madison Heights applied for a Recreation Passport Grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. In 2019, the city was awarded $75,000 through the grant to assist with replacing the aging equipment at Wildwood Park. The project’s total cost was higher — nearly $129,500 — but the Madison Heights Department of Public Services (DPS) defrayed this by contributing labor that included removing the old play structure.

Melissa Marsh, the city manager of Madison Heights, said a major advantage to the update was making the park compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“A big thanks to the DPS and the Parks and Recreation board — this grant and play structure replacement was a long process, but well worth the wait,” Marsh said.

The improvements at Wildwood Park include a barrier-free playscape, new ground features, two swing sets, a barrier-free funnel ball game, two universally accessible picnic tables, four benches and a barrier-free pathway connecting the parking lot to the playground. The park also features a family-style portable toilet.

Madison Heights City Councilman Robert Corbett was one of the most vocal advocates for the accessibility upgrades.

“It was five years ago that staff, working with members of council, originally rolled out a plan for an upgrade across the parks system for all playground and recreational equipment,” Corbett said. “They readily incorporated into the design plans my request for accessible swings and equipment geared toward those children who are physically challenged. This really is a great day for the community and all the families in it.”

Madison Heights City Councilman Mark Bliss agreed.

“Many of our parks sat dormant for years, and until recently, the newest playscapes were a decade old, leaving many playscapes both in disrepair and not up to current standards,” Bliss said. “With Wildwood, we received a matching grant that allowed us to fund the improvement, and it has already become a marquee playground for the city. This park instantly became a favorite of the community, especially for those of us with young children, given the safety of this new playscape for our smallest and most energetic residents.

“It’s also accessible to all with a barrier-free path and many universally accessible features,” he said. “With many challenges coming from the pandemic, I’m glad that we were able to provide this new park to the community, and I’m looking forward to getting creative and finding ways we can still continue to roll out (more upgrades), despite the economic challenges.”  

Grafstein said that she hopes the new playscape raises awareness for accessibility issues.

“A few years ago when my family was visiting friends out of state, we went to the local park and my friend asked if I noticed anything different about the park. I didn’t — it was a clean park with lots of children playing. Nothing that looked out of the ordinary. But it was a fully accessible park, and once that was pointed out to me, I realized all these little things I hadn’t been looking for,” she said.

“So often people think of a wheelchair ramp as the way to make something accessible, and while the ramp is an obvious visual sign, there are so many other little ways that accessibility can be incorporated into parks and buildings,” Grafstein continued. “This new structure is designed to benefit children of all abilities.”

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