Where can kids play in the city? Sometimes, a park is there, but it needs a boost to make it more appealing to visitors. In Indian Village, a community group has taken reactivating a neighborhood park into their own hands, and phase one is well underway.
Mollicone Park, on the corner of Burns and Goethe, had been closed by the city in 2013. The Greater Christ Baptist Church adopted the park and kept it up after. Callie Sullivan and her family moved into the neighborhood and, realizing there weren’t many community parks around for her kids to play, started work to reactivate the park.
Friends of Mollicone Park was formed under the Indian Village Historical Collections 501(c)3 in fall 2016, and the group started working with the city on a vision. They held many community meetings with nearby churches, Nichols Elementary across the street, and neighbors to see what the community wanted. Sullivan says city officials stopped by some of the meetings, often adding questions the group might not know to ask, and Michael Jacobs helped propose a design based on community feedback.
The total plan calls for a paved pathway, picnic tables and seating, a playscape, a gathering area, and a place for dogs. Phase One started this spring, and the pathway now runs a quarter mile around the park. Sullivan says they broke the plan into phases as a way to activate the park quickly.
This isn’t, of course, without controversy. Neighbors have repeatedly posted about the park on Facebook groups and Nextdoor, wondering why anything needed to be paved, where the community feedback came from, and the financials.
Friends of Mollicone Park has recently posted their financials on their Facebok page.
To celebrate the new path, the community is invited to a Pathway Parade Sunday, July 22 from 2-5 p.m. Fitness classes from Detroit Body Garage and Live Cycle Delight will also be offered, along with food from the soon-to-be-opened Marrow restaurant and the Commons.
The next phases of the park will come when funding is received. The group is currently fundraising for benches and play equipment. Community meetings are scheduled this fall and the group is still taking design feedback considerations.