August 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Detroit opens splash park in Palmer Park neighborhood

Detroit —Because her Palmer Park neighborhood didn’t have a splash park, Carla Rivers would have to drive her 9-year-old daughter Karis to Farmington Hills to enjoy the experience.

Now after years of having their neighborhood pool shut down, residents like Rivers and their children have a brand-new splash park to call their own.

“This is like right in my backyard so we’ll definitely be frequenting this park now,” Rivers said of the revamped Palmer Park Splash Park on the city’s northwest side. “I’m hoping we’ll see more things like this opening up in Detroit. It’s important for the kids to see nice things done in their community instead of having to drive out to the suburbs for everything.”

City officials kicked off the new and improved Palmer Park Splash Park, resplendent with colorful spouts that spray out water from different directions on what was once the grounds of an Olympic-size pool Sunday.

The event began with a glitch. It took two hours for the city to get the equipment to work but firefighters came to the rescue with water hoses until the equipment became operational.

Mayor Dave Bing and others were on hand for the dedication that featured a picnic for hundreds of residents and children. The park was the result of a donation by Lear Corp. and is the second splash park to open in the city.

Karis Rivers called the park “cool.” The only thing she was worried about was the fear that “you will get so many people that you won’t be able to play in the water.”

The park, which is just west of Woodward between Six and Seven Mile roads, has motion censors and will be programmed to turn on the water at 10 a.m. and shut off at 8 p.m. upon closure of the park.

LaTanya Malloy, 29, lives four blocks away and she plans to bring her young children, ages 4-9, to the water park often. “It’s really nice to have something in my neighborhood,” she said. “It’s been closed down for a while so it’s nice that they are doing something nice with this area.”

Keith Williams, a former commissioner in Wayne County who sits on the People for Palmer Park board that supports the park, said this is just another step to help restore Palmer Park to greatness and have a place where “our kids can go.”

“It’s great for the city,” Williams said. “Everybody’s talking about bankruptcy and all this other stuff. But nobody’s talking about our babies. The babies are the driving force for any community and the splash park is going to catapult this area. It goes to show you that the people in Detroit care.”

City Council member Brenda Jones praised the opening of the park. Residents in the area, she said, complained bitterly when the pool was shut down but “they did not know what was coming.”

“It’s important to keep our kids occupied,” she said. “This facility will definitely keep them occupied.”
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Children dance and run in the water spray provided by senior firefighter Dave Howard from Engine 44 at the grand opening of the splash park in Detroit's Palmer Park Sunday. / Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
The splash park and grand opening party was paid for by Lear Corp. A water ... (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Karis Rivers, 9, and her brother, Christsopher Rivers, 11, right, of ... (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)