Mayor joins community leaders, donors to celebrate $4M renovation of Clark Park, a SW Detroit anchor since 1800s
- New amenities include a new splash pad, and ADA-compliant playscape
- Donors provided significant portion of funds toward park’s makeover
- Clark Park improvement is one of many recently completed or underway in SW Detroit
Mayor Duggan today joined community leaders, residents, and local philanthropic organizations to celebrate the completion of the newly renovated Clark Park in Southwest Detroit. A community anchor since the 1800s, the 2023 refresh of the 30-acre park includes new modern amenities, including a splash pad and an ADA-friendly playground, making it one of Detroit's most inclusive public parks.
Colorful sports courts also round out the new play area's lively design and more spots to enjoy the park with family and friends.
Additional park improvements include:
- New picnic shelter
- Sports courts (3 tennis courts, 1 futbal court, areas for bag toss and ping-pong, a junior basketball court, and outdoor fitness equipment)
- Vernor edge entrance landscaping
- New Park benches
- Trees installed along the edges of the park
- New amenity installation (trash can/recycling bins, tables, etc.)
"Clark Park has long been a place where people gather, play, and build long-lasting memories," said Anthony Benavides, Director of the Clark Park Coalition. "With the help of the City and generous corporate and philanthropic donors, our community youth and residents have more opportunities to play safely and learn new sports. These investments support the park's vibrancy and help Clark Park be a place that builds community pride."
The improvements to Clark Park come at a time with Southwest Detroit is seeing a major parks renaissance. This summer, the City will complete its transformation of Riverside Park and the new Ralph Wilson Centennial Park is under active construction, which will connect to the Joe Louis Greenway by way of the recently completed Southwest Greenway. Next week, the City will cut the ribbon on the $7 million renovation of Roosevelt Park, which bridges Mexicantown with Corktown in front of the new Michigan Central campus.
“The strongest neighborhoods are ones that have great park amenities and residents living near Clark Park now have a truly first-class neighborhood park they can walk or bike to,” said Mayor Duggan. “We are fortunate to have had some tremendous philanthropic partners who have helped make this day possible.”
Most of the funding for the extensive renovations to Clark Park were made possible thanks to $2.3 million from Invest Detroit through the Strategic Neighborhood Fund.
“Invest Detroit is proud to have been a part of the improvements to Clark Park,” said Maureen Anway, Vice President of Program Evaluation at Invest Detroit. “We made these investments after extensive engagement and input from the neighbors and students. That engagement is a critical component of the ongoing success of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund.”
Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund, a $150 million initiative launched in 2016 by Mayor Duggan and Invest Detroit with a focus on leveraging investments in four key areas: improving parks, streetscapes, commercial corridors and single-family housing. All along the way, the plans are guided by resident input, empowering them to decide the future of their neighborhoods.
$965,000 in funding is coming from the City of Detroit, with the remainder of the project’s funding coming from investments made by the Gilbert Family Foundation and the Kresge Foundation. The project also received financial support from the Gordie Howe International Bridge Community Benefits Agreement.
"Our investments in public spaces like Clark Park create opportunities for residents to connect, improve their well-being, promote their overall health and strengthen their sense of community," said JJ Velez, Director of Public Spaces for the Gilbert Family Foundation. "Clark Park's massive renovation is especially significant, not only because it's one of Detroit's oldest and most utilized parks, but because it's deeply cherished by the community and the residents of Southwest Detroit."
Renovations follow neighborhood planning study
Before the renovations began, the City completed a planning study for the West Vernor Corridor in Southwest Detroit. This study identified Clark Park as a neighborhood hub and ideal for further community investment.
Historically, the neighborhood has always been involved and active in the park, which led to the improvement project being community driven. As one of Detroit's oldest and most used parks, Clark Residents have utilized the park since the 1800s. The park's design fluctuated throughout the years but ultimately remained a community hub in Southwest Detroit, an important aspect that was the heart of its park improvements.
"When I moved to Detroit in 1991, I lived off Clark," explained Brad Dick, the City of Detroit's Chief Operating Officer. "It was a beautiful park then, with a loving and active community, and it was one of the reasons I fell in love with Detroit - 32 years later, it is still an amazing park. Kudos to the Southwest Detroit community for keeping this 'their' park."
Find more information on Clark Park
Find the original community planning framework