THE LITTLE PARK THAT COULD! The official Dedication and Ribbon Cutting, celebrating the completion of the MacArthur Park Nature-Based Park Project was held on Tuesday, October 6, 2020. Mayor Rzeppa welcomed and thanked the host of volunteers, elected officials and key partners that made this project possible. MacArthur Park, at just over 1 acre, is among the smallest neighborhood parks in the city. Though small in size, it is hugely important to the surrounding neighborhood.
“We are excited to celebrate the completion of this project, which has been 4 years in the making. Thanks to the efforts of many individuals and partnerships, including local volunteers, DTE Energy, City of Trenton Engineering, DPS & Recreation staff and the Wayne County Park Millage, this is the first nature-based playground in our community and will provide important opportunities for the neighborhood children to experience the excitement, challenges and joy of nature through play.” said Joann Gonyea, Parks and Recreation Director.
The removal of non-compliant play equipment in 2016 prompted calls from concerned residents about the future of the park. These conversations lead to official adoption of the park in September of 2016 by a group of neighborhood residents, spear-headed by Samantha Sawnick, who presented a well-thought-out park revitalization proposal. This vision led to the development of a Park Master Plan that graphically illustrated the proposed nature-based park improvements and long-term vision.
Through the efforts and recommendation of County Commissioner, Joe Palamara, the city was awarded funding from the Wayne County Parks Millage in the amount of $57,000 in September 2017 for improvements to MacArthur Park as outlined in the master plan.
Park construction began in the spring of 2018 and continued into the next 2 years. The final phase was completed this fall. Not only has the physical attributes of the park been improved, these improvements have transformed the neighborhood bringing community together to share in the joy of reconnecting with nature and one another. MacArthur Park is an outstanding example of how this now vibrant park has been instrumental in promoting healthy, sustainable and revitalization outcomes in the community.