Existing park equipment at Realtor  Park, off North Main Street at East Sunnybrook Drive, will be removed and replaced with new equipment this month.

Existing park equipment at Realtor Park, off North Main Street at East Sunnybrook Drive, will be removed and replaced with new equipment this month.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


New play equipment coming to Realtor Park in Royal Oak

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 2, 2018

  A rendering shows what the new play equipment  at Realtor Park  will look like.

A rendering shows what the new play equipment at Realtor Park will look like.

Image provided by Travis Greer

 From left, Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward, Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier and Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors President James Iodice attend a groundbreaking ceremony at Realtor Park Sept. 21.

From left, Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward, Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier and Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors President James Iodice attend a groundbreaking ceremony at Realtor Park Sept. 21.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

ROYAL OAK — Thanks to a local association of Realtors, Realtor Park, off North Main Street at East Sunnybrook Drive, will receive new play equipment, six benches, two picnic tables and other upgrades this month.

The Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors, which represents more than 8,500 members, pledged $42,000 to spruce up the park that carries its namesake.

The new equipment will include two play structures, a swingset, spring toys, a rock-climbing wall and a spinning feature.

Several years ago, the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors embarked on a placemaking grant program that has impacted more than a dozen communities.

“Really, one of the things Realtors do is they don’t just sell homes — they sell communities,” Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors President James Iodice said during a Sept. 21 groundbreaking ceremony at the park. “We realized there was a Realtor Park, and we couldn’t think of a better opportunity to get behind.”

He said Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors volunteers came out annually to beautify the park, including painting equipment, fixing loose components and installing mini community libraries. The first time, he said, they filled up countless recyclable refuse bags with weeds and trimmings.

“The last few years, we really took a look at it and said, ‘This is great, but it’s kind of old and rickety, and it’s not accessible,’ and we really started focusing on how can we make this park better for the people that attend,” Iodice said. 

Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors Treasurer James Cristbrook said the park was initially purchased and dedicated by a Realtor in 1967. Shortly after, he said, the Women’s Council of Realtors installed the original play equipment.

More recently, Iodice said, a structure was donated to the park by a Farmington Hills primary school, and the city installed drinking fountains and sidewalks.

“There’s a long Realtor history here, and we all felt like if it has our name on it, it should be representative of who we are and what we do,” Cristbrook said. “It took us three years to get to this point; however, it’s going to be a huge transition.”

He said he was most pleased that all of the new equipment will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Both Iodice and Cristbrook said the city of Royal Oak was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, and was helpful every step of the way.

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier said he was excited about the park’s upcoming face-lift.

“Our community doesn’t move forward because of city government — it’s really all of the organizations, volunteers and dedicated staff that make this what it is,” Fournier said. “This is a used park, and I think it will be used even more with some of the assets we have here. It’ll be much safer and much more accessible”

Oakland County Commissioner Dave Woodward, D-Royal Oak, also attended the groundbreaking ceremony.

“My kids have played soccer here,” he said. “This really showcases the value of these public assets. It’s a great location, high visibility. This type of investment is great.”

Call Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik at (586) 218-5006.