A New Vision for Kauffman Park
By Dan Alaimo
(The following is the viewpoint of Dan Alaimo, a member of Kauffman Park Friends. Because of time constraints, the other participants were unable to review it, so it should be read as Dan’s opinion and not that of KPF or LakewoodAlive.)
A new vision for Kauffman Park was presented Wednesday evening, Feb. 13, at the Main Library. The meeting was hosted by Kauffman Park Friends and the LakewoodAlive Design Committee.
Professional urban planner, Lakewood resident and generous volunteer Bryan Evans showed how he had put together input from past meetings and other stakeholders, along with many practical concerns into the beginnings of a master plan. The plan includes walking paths, a reading garden, an amphitheater for entertainment programming, a splash pad that would double as a stage for the amphitheater, updated playground equipment, an enhancement of the Andrews Ave. entrance, and a reconfiguration of the Arthur Avenue extension leading to the park into a promenade with wider sidewalks, more trees and significant signs. There will be an educational component with signs speaking to the history of Lakewood, including its agricultural roots, and even a playground “trolley” for kids to climb on, which would be a historical nod to the old Detroit trolley line.
There was much more. A practicality this plan addresses is the anticipated lack of City funding for the project. It is expected that, while the City will pay for some of it, much of the project will be supported by fundraising and grant applications, and we need to have a master plan in place before we go after these monies.
The goal in all of this is to provide a park experience that economically addresses the needs of a wide swath of Lakewood’s diverse population, while maintaining the recreational opportunities so needed by our younger citizens. Also it is hoped that it will draw more people into the park throughout the day and evenings, and that will consequently result in greater public safety. Ultimately, the centrally located park might become a staging area for the City’s parades and other major civic events, and a location for new endeavors.
For the future, the LakewoodAlive Design Committee and Kauffman Park Friends will continue to meet, and there will be more public meetings before the master plan is finalized later this year.
Following the presentation, there was an animated discussion of the project, with much concern voiced for the lack of athletic fields in Lakewood.
Credits: First major thanks to Bryan Evans for his brilliant work giving our vision for Kauffman Park life. Also to Meg Ostrowski of Kauffman Park Friends for her persistence and major efforts in supporting the plan and promoting the meeting; to Ian Andrews for the support of LakewoodAlive, and to Councilman Tom Bullock for his keen insight and help in bringing our vision to the attention of City Hall. There are many others, and please forgive me if I’ve left you off. Even better, put in a comment if possible.