Macomb Township to break ground on first dog park this summer, thanks to local family land donation

Macomb Township is making progress toward opening its first dog park, Pitchford Park. While the park is in the engineering phase of development, the township’s Parks and Recreation Department hopes to make headway and potentially open parts of the park in 2022. 

In April of 2021, Joyce and Bill Pitchford — who lived in Macomb Township for over 20 years — donated 14.1 acres of land to the township. 

Salvatore DiCaroLocated on Romeo Plank Road, a quarter-mile north of 22 Mile Road, the family wanted the property to be made into a park and named after them, a wish the township was happy to oblige, Director of Parks and Recreation Salvatore DiCaro says. 

“That's when we started thinking about what we would do at that parcel,” DiCaro says. “We had done for our master plan four years ago [and created] a survey as to certain things that the community would want and dog park and pickleball were very, very high on the list.” 

Pitchford Park will have a 1.7-acre dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs. Other amenities include two tennis courts, four pickleball courts, a half-mile walking path, a playscape, and a picnic area with pavilions. 

The park will be free and open to the public. To access the dog park, people must register their dogs and pay a yearly fee. 

“[Those who want to use the dog park] will come in once a year and they will register,” DiCaro says. “The fees haven't been determined yet. It'll be very nominal, and the dog park will be locked, so they'll get a key fob to get them in and out of the dog park.” 

The pickleball and tennis courts will be first come first serve, but the Parks and Recreation Department may run pickleball leagues and would also like to offer children’s tennis lessons throughout the summer, according to DiCaro. 

Pitchford Park will be Macomb Township’s third major park, following Macomb Corners Park — with amenities such as baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a trail, an inline skating rink, volleyball courts, picnic pavilions, and a children’s playscape — and Waldenburg Park — which has an ADA (Americans with Disabilities) accessible children’s playscape, picnic pavilions, a basketball court, a walking trail, horseshoe pits, and corn hole games. 

“We have Macomb Corners Park, which is really like a sports complex, so it's a very active park,” DiCaro says. “Then we have Waldenberg Park, which is a very passive park [...] Pitchford Park will really be kind of in the middle of those things. There'll be activities, but there will be passive things for people to do, so we think it'd be a perfect blend of the two philosophies.” 

The plan for the park is in place, but construction has yet to begin as the Engineering Department is in the process of obtaining permits — for utilities, driveways, and road improvements along Romeo Plank Road, and the drain located on the land — prior to building. 

“The park has been designed, and the site plan has been approved,” Land Development Director Jim Van Tiflin says. “We're in the process now of getting all of the permits and approvals that are necessary to actually build the park."

According to Van Tiflin, while the team cannot control how soon they receive permits and approvals, they are hoping to secure them within the next few months and begin construction this year.

“We expect to break ground sometime this summer, for sure, and our goal is to have it completed in 2022, so I'm hoping sometime in the fall we'll be open,” DiCaro says. 

Image Supplied.

“If there are pieces of the park that we can get open this year, we will certainly look at doing that, but I imagine that all of the construction of the park will probably lead into next year's construction season, because realistically there's some of the improvement work that we just won't be able to do you know once we hit November and the winter months,” Van Tiflin says. “We’ll do as much as we can this year, and then whatever we don't get done this year, we'll follow up next year and get it done.” 

In addition to three major parks, Macomb Township is also home to the 26 Mile Road Nature Preserve — a scenic park with a pond and nature trail — and the 92,000 square-foot Recreation Center

The Recreation Center offers athletic opportunities for all ages from drop-in pickleball for seniors to an indoor playscape and private party rooms for children’s birthdays. Other amenities include a fitness center, multiple gymnasiums, aerobics rooms, and an indoor aquatics center with pools, a water slide, and a hot tub — Macomb Township residents as well as non-residents can access the center by obtaining a membership or daily admission passes. 

All photos by Sophia Hume, unless otherwise noted. 
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