Dodge Park undergoes contruction

Dodge Park in Sterling Heights. Photo by: Mitch Hotts for The Macomb Daily

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. — Construction continues at Dodge Park in Sterling Heights as numerous large changes and improvements are made to the area. The construction, which began Aug. 31 and is expected to end in the late spring of 2018, is part of Sterling Heights’ ongoing plan to begin building or renovating 21 playgrounds between the spring and fall of this year, as part of the “Recreating Recreation” project. Nineteen parks have been completed, with two - including Dodge Park - still under construction.

Dodge Park’s Amphitheater hosts the Music in the Park summer concert series yearly. The old amphitheater has been completely deconstructed, with plans to build a new one in its place. The park hosts a weekly Farmer’s Market, from 3 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays between June 1 and Sept. 28. A covered pavilion will be built, establishing a permanent site for the market.
“Since it’s closer to home than the Farmer’s Market in Detroit, I think a lot of people will go to buy and sell things there since it’s more convenient,” Sterling Heights resident Kristen Vogellehner said. “I’m sure I’ll use some of the new additions if I go, especially during summer.”
Voters approved the “Recreating Recreation” project in November 2016. The estimated cost for all of the park renovations totals $45 million, which will be paid off over the course of 20 years. The average Sterling Heights homeowner will pay an average of $63 in taxes per year, according to the Sterling Heights website.
“Dodge Park is a great place and I think updating it was definitely necessary,” Sterling Heights resident Kristen Torrice said. “We have to pay taxes for it, but everything has a price, so I think it’s worth it.”
Dodge Park’s additions will also include turf mini soccer fields, volleyball courts, an ice rink and a splash pad, allowing citizens to enjoy the park all year round. The ice rink will be used for in-line skating and hockey, and the splash pad will run during the summer. The splash pad will feature a number of water jets and a waterslide, ideal for children to run and play in to cool down during the hot summer months.
“I think the splash pad is a great idea,” Torrice said. “I’m not a kid, but I’m definitely going to check it out.”
The park is also getting an updated playground, along with the 20 other parks involved in the project. The old playscape was removed and disposed of. The new playground equipment will give children a place to play.
“I think the renovations will attract more people to the park, especially families with kids because of the entertainment they’re adding,” Vogellehner said. “In the long run, I think citizens will enjoy the park. It will be nicer, and a lot more enjoyable and entertaining for visitors.”
The pedestrian bridge at Dodge Park is closed, but the trails remain open for citizen use. Events that normally take place at Dodge Park in the fall and winter, such as Sterling Frights and A Sterling Christmas, will be relocated to the City Center campus. When renovations are complete, the park will be open for use to both citizens and non-citizens of Sterling Heights.

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