Are residents as important as butterflies downtown?

Are you tired of seeing your tax dollars going everywhere but where you can see a benefit. Start exercising your concern for a resident friendly downtown park.

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.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

H.G. February 11, 2013 at 04:23 PM
I've given up contatcing the mayor, and the city commissioners a long time ago. They are none responsive and useless. Unless your inquiry has something to do with their agenda, they aren't interested.
Bill February 11, 2013 at 07:45 PM
I couldn't care less about a downtown park. Do something for my neighborhood. Do a code enforcement blitz fixing backwards installed privavy fences, broken windows, and removing none working vehicles. Fix the old fencing and backstop at trhe corner park. Fix the potholes in the neighborhood streets. The city is 12.5 square miles. There is much more to it than just the downtown.
Bill February 11, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Ron, I take it you live near the downtown. I don't. Me and the Mrs. don't frequent the downtown too much anymore. We don't like the heavy emphasis on the drinking in the downtown. We're too old for putting up with obnoxious 20 somethings. Our interest is in the neighborhood where we live. Many of my longtime neighbors don't frequent the downtown, either. The city commission spends too much time talking about the downtown. They have all but forgotten about the neighborhoods.
Royal Oak Dog Lover February 15, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Royal Oak has a ONE HUNDRED MILLION dollar unfunded liabilty for it's retiree health obligations. No one on the city commission talks about it. It is the 8000 LB gorilla in the city. The city does not have a plan on how we are going to pay for it. This is what the politicians need to be addressing. I suspect the city will want to pay for it with a dedicated millage in the near future (yes, another city millage). Instead, you guys want to quibble about a downtown park. No wonder this city (and country) is in the shape it is in.
Kimball Grad February 15, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Many Royal Oak residents gave up commenting at the city commission meetings about a decade ago. I was one of them. Every other month, the same argument would be had at commission meetings about adding another large bar. Every discussion was the same. The police chief and city manager would recommend against it. 12 to twenty residents would speak in opposition to more bars, and then a majority of the city commission would still approve it. It was like the movie Groundhog's Day. It proved to a lot of citizens that their input was meaningless. I haven't been back to a city commission meeting since. I found better things to do with my time.
Bob February 15, 2013 at 08:59 PM
The suggestions Ronald is making about a downtown park are nice, but you are correct RO Dog Lover. Except for one thing. You used the phrase "you guys." The only guys pushing for this are Ronald and Jim Rasor. Everyone else on this page seems to follow your line of thinking that there are bigger fish to fry.
Bob February 15, 2013 at 09:02 PM
LMAO! The students are going to clamor for nice bench seating and chess tables, while the butterflies flutter around. That is high comedy I tell ya.
G. Rockwell February 15, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Any chess tables, benches, or any other structure put near the Star Dream statue will be used as a slidebar by the skateboarders. Look at the marble base of the Star Dream statue to see firsthand how any public improvement would be treated in that area. Any pipedream about a splash pad, or water park in the downtown will quickly become the unofficial free public bath/shower for the homeless. Give up on this nonsense.
G. Rockwell February 15, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Amen, Bill, amen.
Tom February 15, 2013 at 10:37 PM
$$$ talks!! The people making $$$$ dispensing alcohol in downtown is the biggest influence on the city commission. The bar lobby fills the mayor and commissioners campaign coffers. Then the commssioners use that $$$$ to send us suckers glossy campaign literature.
Royal Oak Dog Lover February 16, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Ron- At the city commission study session held just a short few weeks ago, the "downtown park" was brought up. The pipedream not only included the items you mentioned, but also dreamed about including a splashpad, and ampitheater, and also possibly moving the planned Honor Flight WWII Memorial planned for Memorial Park into this so called downtown park. Rasor has also been quoted in the paper about including the splashpad and ampitheater. The city commission has already forgotten that we continue to have major budgetary challenges, ie. $100 million unfunded retiree health obligation. So forgive me if I have zero confidence in the city's discretion of what the city can, or can't afford. It's like giving the authority to the bank account to someone who has never had a checking account.
Mark Itall February 16, 2013 at 05:59 PM
Ronald, Nothing RO can do puts it in competition with the Bloomfields or Pointes, completely different types of cities.
Drops of Jupiter February 16, 2013 at 06:07 PM
That includes student test scores. We have the party downtown. They have the good schools.
Bob February 20, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Your bicycle riding belongs in the street. Especially downtown. You want to put your lack of good reflexes and vision on the sidewalk with pedestrians? You should take your own advice and pick some better battles to fight. You are coming off as a crazed lunatic with shotgun, firing off in all directions with reckless abandon. You have some good ideas. Pick a couple and parse your words.
Bob March 15, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Obviously you could care less because you drag this up weeks later. For if you could not care less you would not have done so.
RO Raven March 28, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Why don't you whittle a chess table and donate it to the parks and rec department? Maybe you can carve the mayor's and the commissioner's heads into the table. If you take requests, please make Rasor's head a pumpkin.
Mark Itall March 28, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Whittling would be wonderful for you. Leaves an opening for a new spammer.
Bill April 01, 2013 at 05:22 AM
Ron, why don't you whittle Don Johnson a house key that fits a house in Royal Oak!?
Bob April 01, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Funny that you are always the first commenter and most prevalent commenter by far on your own blogs. You are under narcissistic suspicion.


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