HAZEL PARK — The charitably funded, community-built, state-of-the-art playscape at one of Hazel Park’s most centrally located green spaces recently had its official dedication ceremony, although its various amenities — among them slides, a climbing wall, a mirror maze and more — have been open to children and their families since midsummer.

HAZEL PARK — The charitably funded, community-built, state-of-the-art playscape at one of Hazel Park’s most centrally located green spaces recently had its official dedication ceremony, although its various amenities — among them slides, a climbing wall, a mirror maze and more — have been open to children and their families since midsummer.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


New playscape dedicated at Scout-McPherson Park

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 25, 2019

 At the dedication of Scout-McPherson Park’s new playscape Oct. 19, Jon Meyer, accompanied by his mother, Olga Meyer — both board members of the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation, which helped fund the playscape — spoke about growing up in Hazel Park and how parks are valued by their family.

At the dedication of Scout-McPherson Park’s new playscape Oct. 19, Jon Meyer, accompanied by his mother, Olga Meyer — both board members of the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation, which helped fund the playscape — spoke about growing up in Hazel Park and how parks are valued by their family.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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HAZEL PARK — The charitably funded, community-built, state-of-the-art playscape at one of Hazel Park’s most centrally located green spaces recently had its official dedication ceremony, although its various amenities — among them slides, a climbing wall, a mirror maze and more — have been open to children and their families since midsummer.

The dedication ceremony for the new playscape at Scout-McPherson Park was held Oct. 19. The park is just east of Hazel Park Junior High School, 22770 Highland Ave., north of Interstate 75 and south of Nine Mile Road.

The city had to wait on favorable weather conditions so a contractor could add the final touch: a pour-in-place surface that makes the merry-go-round area wheelchair-accessible. The new playscape is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, featuring ramps and other touches.  

“It turned out to be a great effort by everyone,” Hazel Park Mayor Mike Webb said. “We all worked together toward the bigger goal, which is a nice finished product for our kids and community.”

The new playscape was built with funding from a $350,000 grant from one of the city’s most dedicated supporters, the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation. The grant’s value was maximized with sweat equity from the community, with volunteers working together on Build Week June 10-15 to assemble everything under the watchful eye of managers from design firm Leathers & Associates.

Various elements of the playscape’s design were also sourced from the community when residents provided feedback on Design Day at Hazel Park Junior High School March 5. This included interviews with local elementary school children earlier in the day, asking for what elements they would like featured in their dream playground.

The result, as crafted by lead designer Jim Houghton, is a playscape that officials say will be a new destination point for the city, with such features as a zip line, a mirror maze, a double slide, a snake tunnel and more.

Hazel Park City Councilman Andy LeCureaux was one of the team captains overseeing volunteer crews during Build Week.

“It was a really tough job with the weather that week. It was raining the first day, and the third day we were baking in the sun, and there was so much mud we were walking in, and we had to bust up the mud to lay down stone and other layers in the ground,” LeCureaux said. “One of the hardest things to deal with were the tree roots in the area. Some trees had to be removed first. There was one we must’ve worked the entire day to remove since the roots ran right through the middle of the park.”

LeCureaux noted that the city has been continually replenishing its tree canopy, including trees donated by the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation to replace those removed by the city’s sidewalk replacement program in front of people’s homes. The city also planted 16 new trees at Kennedy Park and Felker Park the same morning as the playscape dedication at Scout-McPherson Park.

“I’m impressed with the final product,” LeCureaux said of the playscape. “It’s made with incredible material that’s weatherproof, rot-proof and bug-proof. The biggest beams are reinforced with metal all the way through. And the children have so many options — there’s a boat section, and a rock-climbing wall that looks like a beanstalk, and so many slides and a mirror maze. I wish I had one of these when I was a kid!”

LeCureaux, who grew up in Royal Oak right outside Starr Park, said that he’s happy more kids will now have a similar experience.

Webb, another team captain during Build Week, said that the inclusive nature of the playscape is another plus.

“It’s all handicapped accessible, with a handicapped merry-go-round, all of the ramps and the pull-up bars. It’s nice to see for kids who might not otherwise have somewhere to go,” the mayor said. “There must’ve been over a hundred people who helped out, working so hard. … It was fulfilling for everyone who worked on it, doing this for our kids and the community.”

Ed Klobucher, the city manager of Hazel Park, said that in addition to community members, there were also businesses and churches that collaborated on the project, as well as personnel from Hazel Park Public Schools, and even the city’s own staff from the Police and Fire departments, the Department of Public Works and more.

“It’s a testament to the grit and determination of the people of Hazel Park that we were going to get this thing done, and we got it all done within the year. And those were some long days, but it was very gratifying on the last day when the Leathers consultant said this is substantially complete,” Klobucher said.

The city manager thanked the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation for the generous gift. He said the foundation has also supported the city in other ways, including providing for the Promise Zone that sends Hazel Park High graduates to college, and providing for the city’s police reserves program, and in the past a full-time police officer for a year during the foreclosure crisis, and a minor home repair program for residents.

“They’ve been angels to the city of Hazel Park,” Klobucher said. “They’ve just been wonderful, wonderful angels for the city of Hazel Park.”

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