Two half-courts for basketball at Simms Park were recently added.

Two half-courts for basketball at Simms Park were recently added.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Southfield invests over $2.5M in park improvements

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published November 8, 2023


SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield Parks and Recreation Department has been revamping and renovating parks around the city over the past nine months. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Oct. 26 at Miller Park to celebrate the accessible, updated parks.

The over $2.5 million in projects occurred in several parks throughout the city. The project kicked off during the winter with the installment of new playground equipment in Civic Center Park, Freeway Park and Bedford Woods Park, which was the first stage in the Parks and Recreation Department’s plan to replace all 12 playgrounds throughout the city.

Terry Fields, Southfield’s parks and recreation director, explained that the funds for the projects come from capital improvement dollars, federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, and a $600,000 Michigan Economic Development Corp. grant for the Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve.

In late spring, Civic Center Park’s seven tennis courts were resurfaced and painted. Additionally, repairs and updates were made to the lights that cover four of the courts. The parking lot was resealed and painted as well.

Pickleball lines were added to court No. 7, allowing for dual play. In response to the growing popularity of the sport, pickleball lines were also added to the three tennis courts at Beech Woods Park back in August. There are now a total of nine courts for pickleball enthusiasts located throughout the city. The total investment for Civic Center Park was $448,017.

“I think the biggest trend is people being outside outdoors and in safe places to recreate, and I think that, obviously, has been a result of COVID, when outdoor spaces became so important for everyone to be able to be outside,” Fields said. “Pickleball has always been something that has interested Southfield residents; we did pickleball indoors, just like we do tennis indoors in the offseason. And it’s just, it was a natural progression for us. We look at trends and being able to be proactive so that we can create environments that people enjoy. And I think that we really strive to connect with our community.”

Freeway Park’s latest playscapes include a total investment of $231,156 for features such as a Mobius Climber, bouncers, infant/toddler swings, a friendship swing, bucket seat swings, spinners, slides, a bridge and a four-person seesaw.

Bedford Woods Park also saw major playscape updates with a total investment of $185,647 for new play features such as a zip line, a friendship swing, infant/toddler swings, bucket seat swings, spinners, a log balance beam and steppers slides, a bridge, a climber and a dome.

Simms and Miller parks received major renovations, with new paved walking paths, as well as the addition of basketball courts, another important recreational activity for Southfield residents, Fields remarked. Simms Park boasts two half-courts for basketball and a tennis court that includes playing lines for pickleball. The old tennis courts at Miller Park were renovated into four new pickleball courts and three basketball half-courts with the capability to play a full-court game. Simms Park also received a paved walking path, Americans with Disabilities Act access to the park and its features, and 13 new trees, along with updated landscaping, for a total investment of $125,934.

Miller Park also received a paved walking path, ADA access to the park and its features, new landscaping, and 15 new trees and more to be planted in spring 2024, for a final investment of $997,209.

Steve Griffith, Southfield’s park services superintendent, said that Bauervic Woods Park also received some attention this summer.

“We got rid of a lot of people that were doing unlawful things in that area,” he said. “So that was a huge, huge upgrade right there. Since then, we’ve installed the split-rail fence along the front. We’ve removed several trees that were in the playground area. A lot of them were older trees, and we had a lot of large branches falling on the playground.”

Griffith added that Eaton Corp.’s Annual Days of Caring volunteer event with Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan came in June to assist with trail maintenance and to spread mulch in the play area. In July, a series of storms hit the south side of the park, leading to an emergency closure to remove the older trees and branches from the trails. In August, two grills and additional picnic tables were installed to encourage small family gatherings. Improvements were also made to the worn parts of the playground.

“Since we’ve done those improvements to this park, you can go there anytime from 10 o’clock till 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and the parking lot is full,” Griffith said. “We’ve never had that before. People are going in there having picnics or having their lunch. The playground is getting used constantly.”

Construction of phase one at Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve, which began in late July, is set to tentatively end this month, with city officials to review whether the park will reopen to the public before phase two begins next spring. The project includes parking lot improvements and expansion, the addition of a small, open-air shelter to be used for nature programs, the construction of an all-season restroom facility, and provision for gas and electric services at the site.

Despite the dropping temperatures and the promise of winter on the horizon, Fields and Griffith both encourage residents to bundle up and get outdoors to enjoy the 24 parks and nature preserves throughout Southfield.

For more information on Southfield Parks and Recreation, visit