Over 4 dozen Detroit parks closing, Bing announces - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Over 4 dozen Detroit parks closing, Bing announces

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Detroit Mayor Dave Bing talks about cuts to city parks on Friday. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing talks about cuts to city parks on Friday.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Bitter temperatures have kept the kids away from O'Hair Park on Detroit's west side, but in the summer months the place is packed.

"The kids come over here and use the park every day.  I see them play in the park every day," said Jimmy D.

The park has seen better days.  Some of the play equipment is broken and some areas have become a dumping ground, but neighbors try to keep it up and now they're worried what will happen when it closes.

"If you look at it, how vast it is, could you imagine four, five feet high grass?  They could throw bodies in there," Jimmy D said.

Mayor Dave Bing announced Friday O'Hair Park along with 50 others will be closing in the springtime.  The decision comes following Detroit City Council members' failure to approve a deal allowing the State of Michigan to lease Belle Isle.

"It's not retaliation.  This is all fact based," Bing explained.

The mayor says the decision to close the parks is not a political squabble but reality.  Now he has to find a way to cut $6 million from the budget.

"We looked a gift horse in the mouth," Bing remarked.  "We had a deal that was workable, that was doable, that would not have closed parks.  Why we didn't act on that I don't know."

Now it's folks like Curtis Mack and his dog, Squeak, that will have to live with the politicians' decision.  He lives across the street from Milan Park.  It's a gem that will soon be off limits.

"I don't think it's going to be a good idea because this is the only park around in this area," Mack said.

At one time, the city had about 300 parks.  That's being cut to around 68.  Meanwhile, 38 parks that aren't closing will still be put on a limited maintenance schedule.  That means they're not going to get mowed all that often.

Chandler Park is also on the closing list, but the aquatic center is actually run by Wayne County and so that will remain open to the public.

One other side note, this will impact some of the recreation centers.  There had been plans to extend hours at six facilities, but that will not happen now.  The city says there is no money to hire additional personnel.


Closing Parks (Spring 2013 - No Maintenance)

Biraga
Howarth
Sasser
Brookins
Marruso
Manning-Beland
Dueweke
Maheras
Manz
Messmer
Chandler
Mollicone
Hackett
Milan
O'Hair
Outer Dr. - Burgess
Rosemont - Acacia
Bennett
Cass
Dues
Michigan-Third
Mt. Elliott
Murphy
Pirrien
Savage
Bishop
Calvert
Franklin
Keidan
Laker
Richard Allen
Russell Woods
Schultz
Cross
Fitzpatrick
Phelps
Rough (portion)
Simanek
Stein
Cook
Diack
Fields
Kelley
Sawyer
Varier
Romanowski
Windgle
Hyde
Lugar
Sherwood
St. Martin

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