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A New Vision for Kauffman Park

A summary of the meeting held this week to present the new Master Plan for future improvements to Kauffman Park

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.

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.

lakerockbay February 15, 2013 at 03:48 AM
Thats great for Kaufman park,but what about the other parks.Cove,Wagar,and Edwards could all use improvments,why just the 1!
Dan Alaimo February 15, 2013 at 05:07 AM
A small group of interested citizens have been working toward this for many years, and we are finally seeing significant progress. We have been active in convening meetings, holding events and many other tasks. We expect to be active in fundraising, applying for grants, construction, landscaping, maintenance and anything else that it takes to make it happen and keep it going. That's what it's about in this age of municipal cut-backs. If you want to know more about what we've learned, we'll be glad to share.
Annie Caswell February 15, 2013 at 05:13 AM
This is wonderful news! Thank you and your colleagues for all the hard work to get to this point. I will look forward to supporting future fundraising events. My family and I love this park and look forward to its improvement.
Pat Ballasch February 15, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Great ideas. Having citizens driving the plan is inspirational.
Amanda Gunnels February 15, 2013 at 02:46 PM
lakerockbay....be patient. One thing at a time. Thanks to all involved looking to update Kauffman-- I can't wait!
dougmoore February 15, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Amanda you missed the meaning of lakerockbays comment. Correct me if Im wrong..the dedicated people behind this movement to upgrade KP, on whole, would be found on Andrews, French, Viginia, maybe Lakeland Aves. They are not ignoring other "neighborhood" parks, but focusing on the one close to them. If people care about their "neighborhood" park they can start a committee. Im sure all parks are open to everyone, but we are close to our neighborhoods. The "one thing at a time" mentality is wrong because a comprehensive plan can yield more fruit..ask for four & maybe you get 2, 3, possibly all 4! So, get those committees going..help & support has been offered. Do you care about Cove, Edwards & Wagar Parks? Apparently someone does! Good luck!

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