Life is mean't to be enjoyed. Money is not everything. Good mottos to live by, but I am having a really tough time convincing Royal Oak residents that the comission we have today is not as representative of many younger as well as senior residents, nor as concerned about quaity of life issues as past administrations. In my opinion it is largely because ot poor leadership exemplified by a lackluster non resident managerial department and its number one enabler I am sorry to say, our mayor.
In my mind the litmus test for a city with pride has always been just a few simple things. Needed is cleanliness and safety of its streets with a good mix of retail and restaurant/cafe, and just as important as a quality library is a quality downtown park. The jewel in the crown providing for family relaxation and reflection along with satellite parks that offer other amenities such as bicycle trails, tennis courts, baseball, basketball and swimming. Size does not matter, its the quality of its gardens, its benches, its fountain and play area for children. The Stardream/Fountain/Memorial plaza has ample room for a beautifull walk, and sit down park that would accomedate library patrons and residents seeking relaxation and sunshine around a sparkling fountain. Its a shame we have a comission and a DDA that is blind to its fiduciary responsibility to give residents and their guests that also use our library the very best that Royal Oak has to offer. Consider all the money that goes into new parking meters, storefronts, bar and restaurant expansions, the EMagine theater and holiday street lighting for just a few examples.
The will exists, there is just simply no leadership coming from the mayor's office. Instead he delegates the issue to a non resident city manager who I re-itterate once told me the residents of this city would rather sit on walls than benches. I do not have to tell you his attitude towards bicycles.
Only one city comissoner recognizes the need for a downtown central park and unfortunately he has damaged his own credibility as of late. His plans are grandiose but feasable as they include lot expansion and a much needed parking structure. My suggestions are less ambitious. More on the look of a small Europeon town square and fountain with flowers and sculpture and chess tables. We have so many visiting young students who enjoy our cafes and library but look as what is outside. A handful of cold metal benches. No chess tables, no toddler swing that would compliment our volunteer built butterfly garden. Missing cobbles, trees that have outgrown their iron bases which should be moved to the edge of the park grass on Troy Street and replanted with weeping cherry, or dogwood. Every year residents come to the English garden show and are forced to sit on curbs, walls. They carry away tons of beautiful plants and sculptures of which some could be purchased by the city and planted by volunteers who have already planned with the help of a master gardener as to what to buy and where to place it.
Please do not regale me with your suggestions on who to contact. There is only one person you need to contact. That is your mayor. Do not accept being told to go this comission, or that board. The mayor alone has the ear of the DDA, and its most powerful members. Look at the weathered bronze plaque celebrating the original Stardream Fountain, and cobbled paths. Read who contributed. Many of these residents and businesses are gone but look what they accomplished with only a fracion of the resources Royal Oak has today at its disposal. We have business men and women who would love to contribute to our community with a park. Mayor Bloomberg found sources to spend millions on park improvements in NYC that rival many in Europe. Even poor neighborhoods such as the lower east side found ways to create a community oasis where once there was nothing but discarded trash.
Even Detroit with all the problems Royal Oak does not have put together numerous community parks, not to mention Campus Martius. I challenge EMagine Theater, BlackFinn, Andiamos, Mr.B's, Toms Oyster Bar, and so many other old and new entrepreneurs and businesses with roots here to see who will step foward first and call with an offer. All we need is focus and leadership. Drop a dime on the mayor today and tell him we want change and it begins with our beloved Stardream Fountain that like New York's Statue of Liberty represents the heritage of Royal Oak. I believe he will respond if enough call as I am sure he would like to hear from you.
Until every mother's son and daughter has his phone ringing off the hook believe me next to nothing will be done to improve our residential enjoyment of our downtown and its satellite parks during the lifetime of both this administraton and the next. The dog that barks the loudest gets the most attention.
Please do not comment unless its with a promise to call your mayor and comissioners asking them just one question. Why did you stop with the butterfly garden and how about the rest of this park? Do not take "its not my job" for an answer and you might be surprised. If no one calls the mayor, manager and comissioners they will all have a good laugh at this relax and go back to business as usual, be assured.
This is a test, repeat, this is a test of your concern on where and how your tax dollars are spent downtown. I have confidence in the power of the Patch.