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Does This Royal Oak Park Look 'Underutilized' to You?

Royal Oak resident says selling parks hurts the value of the homes in the area.

Does this park look 'underutilized' to you?
Does this park look 'underutilized' to you?
The following letter was written by Royal Oak resident Ted Page.

Regarding the Royal Oak Patch article about the city discussing selling underutilized parks to create funds to fix other parks; This isn't the first time this topic has come up.  I personally feel it is most ludicrous thing a city can think to do.  It would be the municipal version of selling off a child to better feed the others.  A ridiculous notion and one that we can and must rally against.  Let your voices be heard!  Email the city commission until they give up on this idea once and for all.  

The city should not consider these parks as properties that they can barter with.  These parks are dedicated for this use and would require a vote from the public to sell.  Regrettably the city has placed two of our treasured green spaces on the list of underutilized parks.  Fulton Park (aka Spider Park) and Arthur Fries Park (Beverly Circle).  I have no idea how they categorize a park as underutilized.  A park is much more than just a play ground.  It is open space, a green space.  A place to be enjoyed by seeing it as much as using it.  The park is part of a neighborhood and is part of what makes a neighborhood. 

Selling parks hurts the value of the homes in the area and for this to be to some short term benefit of parks in other areas makes no sense to me.  Chances are that any monies made would go to the general fund any way.  Sorry to rant but it makes me mad.  I have been steaming about it all weekend. 

Ted Page
Royal Oak Beverly Hills Improvement Association President
Margie Hembruch-Wade January 20, 2014 at 03:03 PM
Using the park as a "meeting place" before a neighborhood event can certainly make it look as though the park is being utilized heavily. How many times a year realistically do this many people show up at this park?
joseph s spatafore January 20, 2014 at 03:25 PM
nbope
Suzanne Fisher January 20, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Love "Spider Park". Took my kids here all the time when they were little and it was one of their favorite places. Now our "young" friends and "older" friends take their children and grandchildren there. Don't know how that makes it un/under used. The proportion of responses was ridiculously small to say that these parks should be sold off. Green spaces are necessary to the well being of residents. They provide a mental escape even if just viewed while driving past, they also provide a place to gather and meet others making for a healthier neighborhood population, the trees and undeveloped land also aid in cooling during hot weather. They are so much more than just land to be used. A price tag cannot be put on their value. Why do we see so many major cities that deliberately turn their waterfronts and green spaces into major parks? Why do areas that were old train tracks, etc. get turned into bike/walking trails and parks along they way. They are an asset to the community and they are necessary for our well being. We should place a higher priority upon making them the best they can be, not selling them off for development.
Mike January 20, 2014 at 06:08 PM
As a young person who recently bought my first home in Royal Oak I think selling one or more parks is ill advised. My small family planted our flag in RO for many reasons including the abundance of parks and trees. The parks are invaluable assets to the community and I think in the future you will be hard pressed to find a town as nice as ours. Now is not the time to sell the parks for fiscal reasons. Now is the time for city leadership to find a creative alternative that will benefit the city on years to come. (if it is a fiscal reason) And I how can parks be underutilized? I love looking them and listening to the wind as I drive by or walk my dog. There are many positive intangibles because of our parks that make this city great. "If people destroy something replaceable made by mankind, they are called vandals, if they destroy something irreplaceable in nature, they are called developers." – quote from someone smarter than me.
Theodore Page January 21, 2014 at 09:30 AM
To Margie's comment; I posted that picture because I had that picture to post. If I took pictures of the kids that play in that park every day all summer long I would be placed on a list somewhere... this is a hidden gem and a safe place for kids to play. What is your reason for questioning our position on this?
Pamela Ozdych Saunders January 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Imagine for a moment a family with 3 kids looking for a home. The parents find a house near a neighborhood park where there’s a small field and the community shares toys in the sandbox. The playscape is old, but has a certain retro charm, perhaps when the economy shifts, it will get a modest upgrade. The family invests. Their kids start meeting neighborhood kids... all from different schools. Kids start knocking at the door for baseball games or barbies. The children two blocks over each way bring popsicles to share. 10-year-old boys are digging in a neighbor’s yard for a missing ball and a grandmother comes out with cookies. Nearby, new parents push their toddler in the swing while their dog sniffs the baby in the stroller. The next day, a dad another street over works with his son on his swing. The elderly couple behind the park bring their grandchildren over for a picnic. Before Halloween, the high school band leads a costume parade that starts with a sort of pep rally in that park. Sure, sometimes the weeds spread to the family’s yard and they cut the lawn when the city falls behind, but it’s okay... it’s part of being in a community. They see the gem that has made their quaint middle-class community special for more than 75 years... when firefighters would flood the park in the winter to make an ice skating rink. Then, someone puts together a survey with their jewel on a hit list. Without any supportive data, the city calls it “under-utilized.” The goal, to sell the green space to pay for bigger parks on major roads where you can’t find solace as the cars roar by. The dreams of their kids sitting at that park with their first boy or girlfriend are dashed. The dreams of their grandchildren playing nearby become compromised. They wonder how kids from all these different schools will meet each other in a safe place nestled inside their neighborhood. Instead, they see the property as an out-of-place mini-mansion in their tiny, quaint park. This family already chose to sacrifice for Royal Oak’s lacking school bus system. They wonder, what else it might do to deter families from taking root. No one at the planning commission asked their vibrant community association if they could pitch in to maintain. No one gave actual data to explain why the city felt it was under-utilized. It just potentially went up on the chopping block for a city-wide vote. The parents told their children what was happening... and that day... just a little bit more of their innocence was lost.
Steffanie Bowles January 21, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Lest someone think Pamela was spinning some sort of utopian dream...that's just the way the park in my neighborhood works. It's bad enough the schools were torn down in the dead of night and sold to developers. That the look and feel of neighborhoods are being changed by huge houses on overbuilt lots...leave our parks alone! One summer my daughter and I walked to a different park every day. We still have friends we met eight years ago. Royal Oak parks are indeed a jewel.
Karen Jackson Stillwagon January 24, 2014 at 06:33 PM
We NEED GREEN SPACE! We don't need more bigfoot houses which look ridiculous next to the smaller homes in our community. Why sell these parks when they bring such beauty to our town? As a life long resident of Royal Oak, I find this very disturbing. Karen Stillwagon

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