DEARBORN — On Wednesday March 16, Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud announced a transformative $30 million investment in the city’s public parks and green infrastructure. Hammoud was joined by Wayne County and state officials and he said the project is intended to create lasting multigenerational impact for the people of Dearborn.
“Shared public spaces are the heartbeat of our city. Public parks bring people together,” Hammoud said. “They fuel imaginations, encourage healthy activity and boost local economies. When I imagine a thriving Dearborn 10, 20, 50 years from now, I see a beautiful park in every neighborhood and a greener, healthier city.”
The sweeping project includes upgrades and amenities such as free public outdoor wi-fi; new, accessible playscapes; upgraded pools and splash pads; new basketball courts and soccer fields; revamped pavilion and rental facilities and rain gardens, among other improvements. It also includes a $2 million investment in Camp Dearborn, a 626-acre recreation area in Milford that the city has owned and operated since 1948.
Hammoud said the project would include the construction of three completely new parks in the city, one each in the Southend, East Downtown and West Downtown.
“This project is also about investing equitably across the city,” he said. “We hope these three new “sister parks” encourage movement of residents across the city to areas they might not otherwise frequent. Public spaces create community bonds and connection, which is what Dearborn is all about.”
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, the Wayne County Commission, council members and some residents also joined the gathering for the announcement.
“Parks make communities better, they just do,” Evans said. “When you look at trying to make communities both pulled together… and things that are important to communities, you just can’t beat parks. It’s a collaborative effort. We saw the vision and the passion Dearborn had to move the city forward.”
Wayne County Commissioner Sam Baydoun, who represents Dearborn and Allen Park, applauded the upgrades to Camp Dearborn. “You cannot sell a part of history,” he said, referring to what had become concerns about the camp’s future.
Additionally, the project is intended to expand the total green surface area of the city, given the ongoing challenge of flood mitigation in Dearborn, a downstream community. Included are plans to build rain gardens, more permeable surfaces and funds for the removal of logjams that lead to flooded surfaces.
According to the administration, the $30 million sum comes from a combination of grant dollars secured by the city and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars.
“When it comes to our ARPA dollars, the community wants to see transformative investments that directly improve quality of life and public service,” Hammoud said. He thanked Wayne County, the state of Michigan and city officials “for stepping forward and making this dream project a reality.”
Marie McCormick, executive director of Friends of the Rouge, who attended the announcement, applauded the effort, saying it will aid their mission. The mission of Friends of the Rouge is to restore, protect and enhance the Rouge River across the 47 communities in the watershed.
The funding breakdown is as follows:
$10 million from the city’s ARPA fund.
$10 million in grant funding from Wayne County’s ARPA fund.
$8 million from the State Legislature.
$2 million from a combination of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and other park grants.
The city’s newly established (2022) Department of Philanthropy and Grants created the initial proposal for the project. The project was named “Dearborn PEACE Parks”, with PEACE standing for “Park Equity and Access for Civic Engagement.” It is part of Mayor Hammoud’s broader “Dearborn Advantage” initiative, which is intended to highlight the advantages of being a Dearborn resident.
In the coming weeks, the city will announce more details about construction timelines and what residents can expect from specific parks.