Garbutt Park Gets Better, Inline Hockey Group Gives Back

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_TopGarbutt Park Gets Better, ctechadInline Hockey Group Gives Back

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 13, 2015)

The first warm spring weekend brought volunteers from Ferndale and beyond to Garbutt Park to help the DPW with the park’s transformation.

Garbutt was selected for improvements by the Parks Commission, and the City allocated $99,000 for the purchase of new playground equipment. The DPW is also constructing a path that will be accessible by all.

gardenfreshADAs part of the facelift, a hockey rink also needed to be removed. That’s where residents, and in particular a local inline hockey group, came in.

Harding Park Inline Hockey started as a group of friends who would get together and play, but thanks to the growth of their Facebook group now has over 190 people who come when they can for pickup games. When the opportunity came up to help tear down the rink at Garbutt to recycle pieces of it for their preferred park, they players were on it.

Bruce Channell, who graduated from Ferndale High in 1999 and now lives in Madison Heights, is one of the originals. “The City of Ferndale built five outdoor inline hockey rinks back in the late 90s as hockey soared in popularity due to the Red Wings success,” he said. “The rinks were put at Garbutt Park, Geary Park, Wilson Park, Martin Road Park, and Harding Park. Garbutt Park was one of the least used rinks, so the City decided to take it down and use the parts from modern natural baby inprogressthat rink to repair and improve the condition of the other rinks.

“I’ve played at all the rinks in the city over the years, but Harding has been the only one since 2008 or so, when the city installed the unique MateFlex flooring.” The MateFlex, he said, “allows for inline players a surface that is much safer, smoother, and more in tune with the indoor hockey facilities in the Metro Detroit area like at Total Sports Novi, Joe Dumars Fieldhouse, Sports Forum etc.”

Parts from the rink they deconstructed at Garbutt will help keep the rink at Harding, and those at the other parks, in good condition while freeing up space for Garbutt Park’s new features.

The Harding Inline Hockey Group is also supplementing the City’s efforts with fundraising on their own to help maintain the rink they use most. “I’m optimistic about Ferndale’s park improvement plans, but we also are not simply relying on the city to act. Josh Johe and his royal_servicesgirlfriend have created a GoFundMe page to ask for donations that will go towards improving and adding features to the Harding rink, so everyone can continue to enjoy and use that rink for years to come,” he said. That page has already raised $350.

The Harding Inline Hockey Group is planning a weekend tournament for regular players, and will continue to host meet ups for those who want to play.

Channell credits Councilperson Greg Pawlica for the work he’s done with the Parks Commission. “Greg has been a great asset in helping the Harding Inline hockey community in our efforts to improve Harding’s inline rink,” Channell said. “Everyone appreciates his efforts, and we look forward to having the rink be very busy this summer.”seed_dc_09_liz_trombley_may2015

In addition to the care given at the rinks, the Parks Commission has worked with the DPW, Ferndale Recreation and City Council on ways to implement the Parks Master Plan.

At Garbutt Park that means the installation of a 75 square foot play area that should be kid-ready by the end of April. Designed by Sinclair Recreation and GameTime, the site will have a slew of features, including a distinct area for little ones aged 2-5, and ADA compliant features like an accessible swing.

“It is very exciting to see all the work that is happening at Garbutt Park is weekend. There are several projects planned in several of the parks this summer, but if we can get the Parks and Streets Bond passed on May 5th, we can do so much more. I want our residents to be proud of Judy_Palmer30yearsour parks,” Councilperson Pawlica said.

The May 5 bond would mainly provide funding for roads, with $1.9 million to go towards park improvements. The City is also working on building a dog park at Wilson Park, and the sale of a pocket park on Saratoga was approved Monday, which will mean the movement of a basketball court and barbeque to Vester Park and an additional $25,000 in the parks fund.

To learn more about the plans at Garbutt Park, view the March 9 Ferndale City Council meeting or see the following agenda packet information:

To chip in to the Harding Inline Hockey Group’s fundraiser go to

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