Pleasant Ridge Celebrates 100 Years, New Patio Space

Pleasant Ridge Celebrates 100 Years, New Patio Space

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 13, 2019)

Pleasant Ridge, MI- As Pleasant Ridge residents sipped beer and wine, mingled with neighbors, and lounged in the new patio seating behind the Community Center, nature gave the freshly opened space a warm sunset glow. Walled off from the buzz of the freeway next to it, the newly renovated space has tables with umbrellas, chairs, and a wall that is the perfect size for sitting.  The “Big Room” now has garage doors that give the Big Room an even bigger feel for gatherings of all seasons.

On the wall outside is a mural of multiple flowers, with warm tones that matched the colors of the sky.  The mural was commissioned by the city from LA-born and raised artist Ouizi who now lives in the Detroit area. The space itself was designed by Pleasant Ridge resident Patrick Thompson, who also designed Axle Brewery in Ferndale.

Also in the quaint space in a rolling green lawn leading to a children’s play scape so parents can relax at a healthy distance while still keeping an eye on their little ones.

A mural inside, plus the black ceiling with red beams, hint of municipal infrastructure while still looking bright and trendy.

And of course the people and the groups that filled the walls of the Big Room were really the story of the evening, as the community was celebrating more than just the space. It was the city’s 100th birthday!

City Manager James Breuckman read the words from city leaders 100 years ago, “Situated as we are on one of the most traveled thoroughfares of America, we have a wonderful opportunity of advertising our charms to potential home-seekers. We would like to see the entire village beautified by intentional public improvement, streets scaped perfectly unlike so much of the amateur works in evidence, trees planted were ever needed and properly cared for, and wide, well-kept grass plots between sidewalks and gutter line. The public can well-afford to devote as much time and money to beautifying the public property as we individually devote for private property. Money so spent will benefit us all in the higher value of our homes.”

That mindset is one that has kept the 2,400 person, .56 square mile community looking good, and full of active citizens.  “We punch above our weight,” Brueckman said.  “We accomplish so much here that larger communities don’t.”

Lining the walls of the Big Room were several of the groups and departments that do their part for the city.  The Historic Commission was on hand with a file box showing examples of the files kept on every address.  Inside are photographs and histories of the home.  Some have news clippings, personal stories, and other memories.

When Amber Herrick moved to Pleasant Ridge from Clio in 2002 she knew she wanted to be part of a tight-knit community.  “I love history and I wanted a way to be involved in Pleasant Ridge,” she said.  The Historic Commission preserves the tiny historic museum which is inside a former police booth.

In addition to keeping historic records, the group has fundraisers including the Home and Garden Tour, which takes place this year on September 21.

The Pleasant Ridge Foundation and the Garden Club had tables near each other, with members of both celebrating improvements being made to the fountain and surrounding landscaping in Stephenson Park.  The fountain had been there since the 1940s but stopped working several years ago.  Residents and resident groups got together to raise money for repairs.  The fountain should be up and running again by the end of the month.

“The water gave serenity, and it buffers the busy-ness of Woodward,” said Kathi Snow.  “It’s a nice feature to honor veterans.”

Robert Campbell is a fourth generation Pleasant Ridge resident.  “We’ve always had a fountain, as long as I can remember,” he said.  “The greenbelt defines our city, and it’s our responsibility to keep it up.”

Pleasant Ridge Mayor Kurt Metzger said he was “thrilled to see all these people,” and added that it really is the residents that make Pleasant Ridge special.

Learn more about the City of Pleasant Ridge at https://cityofpleasantridge.org/

Check out the Oakland County Times Pleasant Ridge page!

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