Major renovations planned for Pontiac’s Neighborhood Park

What it is: In what’s being touted as the first major redevelopment of a Pontiac park in years, the Pontiac Community Foundation is spearheading efforts to renovate Neighborhood Park on the city’s east side. The park, located near Paddock and Perkins streets, is described as being dangerous and in disrepair, according to the Community Foundation. 

Rendering courtesy of Zaremba & CompanyWhat it could become: Plans are in the works to transform Neighborhood Park into Mattie McKinney Hatchett Park, a state-of-the-art and inclusive park. The redeveloped park will include outdoor fitness equipment for adults and youth; two new basketball courts; a playscape for all ages and abilities; new landscaping and walkways; a soccer field, and more.

Honoring a local hero: The park will be named for Mattie McKinney Hatchett, a community leader in Pontiac since 1963. Among her many accomplishments include serving on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, as a trustee on the Pontiac School Board, and as Pontiac’s Deputy Mayor. Commissioner Emeritus Hatchett was also the first Black woman to serve as President of the Michigan Association of Counties.

How it’s happening: The redevelopment of Mattie McKinney Hatchett Park is being funded, in part, through a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Pontiac Community Foundation. The park project has been selected for Public Spaces Community Places, the placemaking initiative from the MEDC. Should the project successfully raise $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, the MEDC will contribute a $50,000 matching grant.

How to help: The Mattie McKinney Hatchett Park crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform, which is available online. Organizers have until Sunday, Nov. 14, to successfully raise the funds.

What they’re saying: "We are overwhelmingly grateful to MEDC for providing us the opportunity to raise matching funds through the Public Spaces Community Places grant program," says Pontiac Community Foundation founder and CEO Dustin McClellan. "This opportunity will have an incredible impact on the city of Pontiac by enabling us to raise the necessary funds to create a state-of-the-art park for the city's residents."

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