Healthy Dearborn secures grant to build new park on city's east side

A once vacant lot on the east side of Dearborn is on the verge of being transformed into a new public space.

Healthy Dearborn, a local coalition led by Beaumont Health, the City of Dearborn, and Dearborn Public Schools, has secured a $63,000 grant from national non-profit KaBOOM! and the Built to Play Initiative supported by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

That money will be used to design and build the park. All that’s left is city council’s approval, which, given the nature of the project, is as sure a bet as they come, says Healthy Dearborn project manager Sara Gleicher.

The design of the park is yet to be finalized. What's known is that half of the park will be a mini-soccer court designed for children aged 12 and under. The second half of the park depends on community input.

A design workshop for residents that live near the park is being held at the spot on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with a makeup date scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3. Organizers will present drawings of potential park options and residents will be able to give feedback on what’s built.

New trees, landscaping, benches, and ADA-compliant playground equipment are among the possibilities.

"Residents will determine what sort of playground equipment and amenities will be built," says Gleicher."We want it to be their park."

Once plans are finalized, the park will be submitted to city council for approval.

The park is part of Healthy Dearborn’s larger mission to improve health equity throughout the city. Gleicher references the 500 Cities Project, a report from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and CDC Foundation that identified neighborhoods in east and south Dearborn as being home to residents that suffer disproportionately from poor health outcomes.

While Gleicher says that Healthy Dearborn remains committed to all of Dearborn, neighborhoods in the eastern and southern portions of the city could use some extra attention.

"It’s our mission that all people have access to healthy lifestyles, no matter where they live," she says.

The new park will be located on Graham Street, between Wyoming and Lonyo avenues in Dearborn.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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