Warren seeks grant for pocket park

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published May 24, 2012


WARREN — Residents can still support efforts to add a little green space in south Warren, but they have to act quickly to do it.

Voting ends June 1 for the Let’s Save Michigan’s It’s About Place contest, featuring a plan to construct a “pocket park” on a small strip of land at Van Dyke and Essex, owned by Warren’s Tax Increment Finance Authority.

The project is competing against a list of other regional projects.

A panel of judges will eventually name a winner from a list of 10 final projects. The grand prize project will receive a $2,000 boost to make the concept a reality. Runners-up will receive awards of between $500 and $2,000 to fund or partially fund work designed to make Michigan communities “more attractive, more welcoming, safer and more economically successful,” according to the contest website at www.letssavemichigan.com

“It’s property that TIFA purchased a couple years ago. I believe it’s a tax-reverted property we purchased,” said Bonnie McInerney, Warren’s TIFA and Downtown Development Authority director. “Actually, it’s a site that we, as a TIFA group, talked about doing something with for a while. The area needs some greening, and that would be a good spot to do a small park or at least plant some trees down there.”

McInerney said a pocket park project could cost $10,000 to $15,000 total at the site. Any funding awarded would supplement the efforts of Warren’s TIFA, which captures business taxes and exists for the purpose of assisting businesses within the district by improving streetscape elements.

Warren’s TIFA runs along Van Dyke from Eight Mile to Stephens, and overflows both east and west of Van Dyke for about half a block along Eight Mile and Nine Mile.

Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman said a city pocket park would not include playground equipment. Rather, there could be a combination of trees and grass, possibly seating, or brick pavers.

According to the project application, the proposed location would serve a mix of neighborhood homes and businesses hit hard by the economic downturn. It is also a SMART bus stop.

Warren has one other pocket park site, known as Kraft Park, near 13 Mile and Van Dyke.

“It’s important to vote to let the organization know that the residents are in support of it and that the community would like additional green space,” McInerney said.

Warren’s project had 222 votes as of May 23, more than 3,800 votes behind Muskegon’s “Fat Garden” project, and more than 3,000 votes behind another pocket park project in downtown Wyandotte.

To vote for the pocket park at Van Dyke and Essex, visit www.letssavemichigan.com/place making-contest. Voting closes June 1.