Kids of all ages enjoy the new Emmons Plaza Splash Pad, located at 1551 E. Auburn Road in Rochester Hills, during the grand opening June 9.

Kids of all ages enjoy the new Emmons Plaza Splash Pad, located at 1551 E. Auburn Road in Rochester Hills, during the grand opening June 9.

Photo by Deb Jacques


New splash pad brings smiles to Auburn Road corridor

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 22, 2021

ROCHESTER HILLS — Families can head to Rochester Hills to cool off at a new spot on a hot summer day.

The Emmons Plaza Splash Pad, located at 1551 E. Auburn Road, officially opened to the public June 9.

Children of all ages were thrilled to test out the city’s new water attraction on a sunny, 88 degree day — which also happened to be the last day of school for many of them.

“You do this for the smiles and the laughter — and if that’s the barometer, we’re killing it today,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said, dripping with water, after he joined the children for the first trip down to the splash pad.

The free splash pad, open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, features a natural river-like design with multiple stationary and interactive water features amid three turf hills for children to climb on. Simply pushing a button atop one of two posts activates a roughly five-minute cycle of water fun.

Rochester Hills resident Lydia Wakeland — who just moved to the area a few months ago — brought her 3-year-old daughter, Margo, and her 2-year-old son, Henry, to make a splash.

“We love going to splash parks. My kids are the perfect age for these things, so I was excited that it was a five-minute drive from my house,” said Lydia Wakeland, as she watched her children run happily through the sprays of water. “I think they like it.”

Rochester Hills City Council President Ryan Deel and his two sons, Jack and Brennon, were also in attendance.

“To see a project through, from conception to now, really is a fantastic feeling,” Ryan Deel said. “It’s all about the faces on these kids that are here enjoying it today.”

The splash pad is part of the Auburn Road Corridor Project, which the city completed last fall, transforming Auburn Road between Culbertson Avenue and Hessel Avenue into a downtown district-like atmosphere.

Rochester Hills City Planner Sara Roediger said officials had been planning to update the Auburn Road corridor for many years.

“We started studying this five years ago, and we had multiple open house meetings where we talked to the residents and business owners, and a lot of them said they didn’t feel like it was a very safe place for families to walk before,” she said.

She said the overall Auburn Road Corridor Project strengthened the district as a unique destination, calmed traffic and improved safety, created a more walkable environment, encouraged development opportunities, and improved accessibility.

One of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, The Brooklands, is located within the corridor.

“For many years we didn’t have a lot of new investment here, so we thought, if we’re gonna do something, let’s do it down here. Lets reward the people that have been here with us from the beginning,” Barnett said.

Roediger said the city wanted to create a designated spot within the district that would be attractive to families, where people could go to relax and have fun.

“(The splash pad plaza) really can be a multipurpose area, because the water is only on when you touch it — it’s not continuously running — so it could be an area where we could have concerts in the summer, programs or a lot of different things. We want to let it evolve naturally and see what comes.”

The Emmons Plaza Splash Pad, located at 1551 E. Auburn Road in Rochester Hills, is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. The plaza also offers benches, cafe seating, a drinking fountain, public restrooms 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and evening lights for gathering in the space when the water is turned off.

Parking is available along Auburn Road and the new public parking lot directly behind the splash pad.

To learn more, visit rochesterhills.org/parks or call the city of Rochester Hills at (248) 656-4673.