Story by Malissa Martin
Photos by Bernie Laframboise
THERE ARE SOME CHANGES BEING MADE AT THE CITY OF FERNDALE’S PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT. One of the most recent is the installment of new Director Lareina Wheeler, who replaced Jillian Manchik on March 13, 2017. Wheeler previously worked for the City of Detroit for 15 years as an environmental specialist, where she worked on big projects such as the Link Detroit Greenway/Dequindre cut extension, Detroit Riverfront redevelopment and Inner Circle Greenway project. She’s also owned One Life Fitness for over 12 years.
The next changes coming are upgrades to the parks, while they get ready for summer activities. Wheeler said their Master Plan was recently approved, and upgrades should happen throughout the next two years. “There are a lot of wish-list items we are definitely going to try to tackle and make happen. For this year, we’re starting with Martin Road Park, some improvements in that park.” The list includes: walking pads, splash pads, adult exercising equipment, sitting gardens, new play equipment, pavilion upgrades, ball field upgrades, and more. “The main things would be the splash pad, city garden, walking path, and adult exercise equipment.”
Creating opportunities for family and friends to spend time together at one of the 14 community parks in Ferndale is the goal of the Department. Wheeler said the department is open to suggestions from the public on their vision. “They can definitely be included in the planning process because we’re focusing on forward-thinking. We want our parks to be modern, we want them to be innovated, and we want them to meet the needs of the community.”
Ferndale’s parks provide a unique outdoor space for residents and visitors to enjoy. Summer youth programs and adult leagues are now taking registrations. Many summer events will take place at the park. The parks are maintained by the City’s Department of Public Works. Programs and rentals are managed by the Recreation Department.
MARTIN ROAD PARK
Located at 1615 E. Lewiston Avenue, Martin Road Park is classified as a community park and is the largest park in the city with almost 32 acres to enjoy. A few of the park’s amenities are shared with Webb Elementary School. Martin Road Park amenities include basketball hoops, concession stands, grills, picnic tables, in-line skating rink, park benches, pavilions and pavilion tables, play structures, sledding path, football field (on school property), full soccer field (Dream Field), two small soccer fields, two softball fields (on school property), walking trails, restrooms, drinking fountains, large open space area, and off-street parking lots.
DETROIT CURLING CLUB/ FERNDALE ACTIVITY CENTER
The Detroit Curling Club, founded in 1885, partnered with The City of Ferndale in the early 2000s to share the club’s building at Martin Road Park. The agreement allows each party use of the building for six months per year. The amenities for the Detroit Curling Club/ Ferndale Activity Center include four sheets of curling ice (winter months), a large open indoor area (summer months), meeting room, office, kitchen, and bathrooms.
Harding Park is classified as a community park, located at the corner of Mapledale St. and Paxton St. The large, 17 acres wooded park includes two basketball courts, in-line skating rink (lighted), softball field, full soccer field, two small soccer fields, baseball field, play structure, picnic tables, park benches, restrooms, drinking fountains, storage building, and an off-street parking lot.
This neighborhood park is the third largest in the city, with over nine acres and is located at 1198 Earl Boulevard. Amenities for Geary Park include in-line skating rink (lighted), baseball field, softball field, play structures, picnic tables, grills, pavilion, restrooms, benches, drinking fountain, storage building, and an off-street parking lot.
Set next to University High School, Wilson Park is the only dog park in the city. It’s located on University St. and Hilton Road, and has an acreage of 7.34. Amenities for Wilson Park include in-line skating rink (lighted), small softball field (on school property), basketball court, play structure, picnic tables, grills, picnic benches, dog park, restrooms, drinking fountains, and an off-street parking lot.
Garbutt Park, with almost seven acres, is located at 200 Gardendale Street. The park received its latest update in 2015 when it upgraded the playground area. It’s the only Ferndale park to have earth play mounds; earthen formations such as hills to divide areas naturally. Amenities for Garbutt Park includes softball field, soccer field, play structures, walking trail, earth play mounds, picnic tables, grills, park benches, drinking fountain, and restrooms.
LENNON MEMORIAL PARK (MAPLEDALE PARK)
Named after Ferndale’s former mayor, Bernie Lennon, Lennon Memorial Park is also known as Mapledale Park because of its location on the said street’s name. The park has more than four acres, and is located on Garfield St. and Chester St. Amenities for the park include two small soccer fields, basketball court, play structures, picnic tables, grills, open space areas, park benches, and drinking fountains.
Wanda Park is located at 998 Wanda Street, with three acres. The park’s amenities include basketball hoops, softball field, play structure, picnic tables, grills, park benches, and a drinking fountain.
KULICK COMMUNITY CENTER
The Kulick Community Center is the city’s primary recreational indoor and outdoor facility. It’s also home to the offices of the Department of Recreation and Senior Services. Amenities for the Kulick Community Center include meeting rooms, various activity rooms, gymnasium, fitness studio, dance studio, kitchen, dining room, restrooms, play structures, basketball hoop, picnic tables, park benches, off-street parking, and site of a Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) public transportation hub.
Surrounded by a beautiful wooded area, Oppenheim Park is located at 650 St. Louis St. and has 2.35 acres. The neighborhood park has the following amenities: Open space areas, play structure, drinking fountain, picnic tables, grills, and park benches.
Fair Park is located at the corner of Fair St. and Jewell St., and is considered one of five mini parks with 1.27 acres. Amenities for Fair Park include park benches, paved walking trail, and a play structure.
The second mini park, with just less than one acre, is Vester Park, which
is located at the corner of Vester and Farrow St. Vester Park amenities includes a play structure, picnic tables, grill, park bench, and a
Oakridge Park is located on Oakridge Street (near Woodward Ave.) and is about a half-acre in size. The mini-park is a completely open space with no additional amenities.
Marie Park is another mini park, located at 1300 Marie St. Amenities include play structures, park benches, soccer field, and a drinking fountain.
The final mini park, and smallest of the city’s parks is Schiffer Park with about a tenth of an acre. The park is located at W. 9 Mile Rd. and Planavon St. and is an urban plaza with tables, benches, and a drinking fountain. Schiffer Park was dedicated in honor of former Mayor Henry Schiffer in 1982.
Ferndale Historical Society
Draft of the Ferndale Parks & Recreation Plan 2016