A new all-inclusive park, with amenities for children of all developmental or physical needs, will begin installation next year along Long Lake Road in Troy, pictured.

A new all-inclusive park, with amenities for children of all developmental or physical needs, will begin installation next year along Long Lake Road in Troy, pictured.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Troy approves plan for new all-inclusive park, renews yard program

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published December 20, 2021

 Troy will continue its Yard Assistance Program for the next year, thanks to continued Community Development Block Grant funds.

Troy will continue its Yard Assistance Program for the next year, thanks to continued Community Development Block Grant funds.

Photo provided by Cindy Stewart


TROY — The Troy City Council unanimously approved the city’s Community Development Block Grant fund distributions for 2021, which will include the continuation of Troy’s Yard Assistance Program and the development of a new all-inclusive park on Long Lake Road.

Although the funds come from the federal government, they are distributed at the county level, requiring Troy’s funds to be approved by Oakland County, something Troy’s Community Affairs Director, Cindy Stewart, expects to go forward without any issues.

“The county approves any CDBG funds, so they need to go over the funds being used for the park. It’s the same with the yard program as well,” she explained. “We need to submit our application to the county, but we’ve spoken with them already, so we don’t expect that to be a problem. It’s federal funds, but the county administers them.”

Troy received $182,205 in CDBG funds this year, of which $54,661.50 will go toward the Yard Assistance Program and $127,543.50 will go toward the park.

Stewart said the goal is to create a park with amenities that will allow all children to utilize it and enjoy it, regardless of any disabilities or special needs.

“We want to create an all-inclusive park,” she said. “It’s a 2.5-acre parcel that the city bought a few years ago as part of a project for another (Interstate 75) ramp that never came to fruition. We have owned this unused piece of land for 16 or 17 years. This vacant land is owned by the city, and in the 2020-2025 master plan it was included as an undeveloped park. Surveys from residents said they wanted playground amenities. So, we want to make a park where children can participate in outdoor recreation activities regardless of physical or social limitations.”

The new park will be located on the north side of Long Lake Road, between Livernois and Crooks roads.

Troy Mayor Ethan Baker said the City Council was happy to be able to approve the park project and looks forward to work beginning on it in 2022.

“Troy’s city parks are some of our most important quality-of-life amenities,” he said. “This new all-inclusive park will provide a place for all kids, regardless of abilities, to play together. Currently, our parks have (American with Disabilities Act) accessible play equipment, but it is separate from our traditional play equipment. The intent is to bring everyone together to play with all-inclusive equipment that can be universally shared, and I’m very excited we are able to bring this to Troy.”

The park cannot be funded solely with the money from this year’s CDBG funds, but Troy had funds left from 2018 to 2020 that were slated to go toward a previous project at the city’s Firefighters Park on Coolidge Highway that was not implemented.

“We cannot do this with one year’s worth of grant money, so we will probably complete the park in phases as funding becomes available,” said Stewart. “We have other CDBG money from 2018 to 2020 that we haven’t used. We had wanted to use that money for a different project at Firefighters Park, a path from the parking lot to the soccer field, but that didn’t come to fruition, since the costs were way beyond our budget. We are now using those funds for this (all inclusive park) project as well. This new project at Long Lake will probably help a lot more people.”

These other funds included $65,401 from 2018, $108,744 from 2019, $126,120 from 2020.

“The total cost will include the $127,543.50 of CDBG funds from this year, and the money from 2018 to 2020 was approved by the City Council, reprogramming that money for this new park project,” said Stewart. “That should fund the park along with future CDBG funds we’ll receive in the next three or so years. We want to put a restroom there and other amenities, so the costs will require multiple years of grant money to fund it.”

Design work for the park is expected to begin in spring of 2022, and work at the site is expected to begin in mid-to-late 2022.

“We call it all-inclusive, so there’s different things on a play structure that kids with special needs can utilize,” Stewart said. “Different kinds of swing sets and slides. Also different things for climbing. We’re getting a design for it from someone who is familiar with these kinds of parks. There are all kinds of different amenities that are available.”

The remainder of this year’s CDBG funds will go toward the Yard Assistance Program, which helps senior citizens and those with disabilities keep their driveways and walks clear of snow in the winter and maintain their yards for the rest of the year.

“We can only spend 30% of the funds on service projects like this,” said Stewart. We have put ours into a Yard Assistance Program that helps seniors and those with disabilities take care of their yards, mow their lawns, and shovel their driveways and walks. The rest of the money can be used for a variety of projects.”

Baker said the program helps ensure that those with a more difficult time maintaining their homes can stay where they live, and it provides a better quality of life for many Troy residents.

“I’m very proud the city of Troy is able to provide our Yard Assistance Program for many residents who need the help,” he said. “Cutting grass, raking leaves, and clearing snow can be very difficult when you have limited funds or limited physical abilities. We are a caring community, and funding a program to provide extra care to residents in need is always good policy.”

Those interested in the program can call Stewart at (248) 524-1147 to sign up or get on the waiting list. She said they need to apply each year and show they have a financial need for it.

“We range between 75 and 90 seniors or disabled persons in the program each year. We bid for a contractor to do the work. It’s done in 2021, and once snow falls we will begin snow removal this coming year,” said Stewart. “People have to apply every year. They have to turn in paperwork to qualify them financially. If we have too many people, we have to have a waiting list. We feel this is a very good use of this 30% because it helps people stay in their homes.”