Stir It Up
Detroit considering closing down 50 parks
Published: February 20, 2013
There are conservancy and “friends” groups looking out for Belle Isle, Palmer Park and Rouge Park. In the cases of Hyde and Romanowski Parks, there are neighborhood groups taking responsibility for them. There is probably more of that sort of thing happening in some of the other parks. Maybe it would be a good idea if Bing encouraged more farming in parks such as Romanowski. That’s what Detroit Mayor Hazen Pingree did in 1893 when there was a national recession taking place. He encouraged residents to farm in parks and other city-owned land, including the City Hall lawn. Although his program was at first ridiculed, it was later copied in other U.S. cities.
There is already plenty of empty land out there, and there will be even more if the mayor’s blight eradication program increases the demolition of old houses. I don’t think we need to turn all the parks over to farming. But I do think a lot of Detroiters are willing to maintain the small parks inside their neighborhoods. The GWCA’s Dickerson says she’s been hearing from other neighborhood groups who want to know how Greenacres does it with Hyde Park.
As the mayor and City Council bicker with each other and with the governor, folks in the neighborhoods are doing what they have to do to survive. If people come together to keep their local parks clean, they just might come together to do other things to help turn this city around.
Larry Gabriel is a writer, musician and former Metro Times editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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