From Park to Possible Parking: Ferndale Takes Steps Toward…

From Park to Possible Parking: Ferndale Takes Steps Toward Sale of Saratoga Parkspiritual life ferndale

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 28, 2014)

The process has begun for the possible transformation of Saratoga Park to a parking lot or other industrial development. Ferndale City Council voted unanimously to decommission the park, freeing it up for potential a sale.

“I am aware that Garden Fresh has expressed an interest in the property, but because the land is currently designated as a park, waterworkthe city cannot conduct negotiations with any developer over the purchase of the property until it has been declassified as a park,” said Councilperson Greg Pawlica, who is the Council Representative on the Parks and Recreation Commission.  “It is my understanding that by law, without an Exclusive Negotiating Rights Agreement (ENRA), once the property is made available for sale, it must be available for anyone to purchase with a development plan for the property.”

Saratoga Park is a strip of city-owned land on E. Saratoga in the middle of the industrial district. The long skinny plot is not big enough for a building. It currently contains what people in the area call “half court,” a slab of concrete not large enough for a full game and just one basketball hoop. “If the guys want to playcomedysportz ad but the courts up by the school are full, they say meet me at half court,” said one of the people shooting hoops there during the day on Monday who did not want to be named in the news. The park is less than a mile from University High School and Wilson Park, which offers basketball. Martin Road Park has basketball courts less than half a mile to the north. It is also less than a mile from Wanda Park, where basketball hoops had been removed due to fighting several years ago.

Saratoga Park also has picnic tables which commonly serve as a break time spot for people working in the surrounding factories. And there are trees.

The park runs adjacent to a small parking lot, and to a row of residences with privacy fences between them and the park. Garden Frseed024_jeannie_davis_from_loriesh headquarters and production facilities are in the immediate area.

The decommissioning of the park came with several stipulations, including that the monies raised from the sale of the property would go to the purchase or repair of park equipment, or the purchase of potential new park property, and that the park equipment in Saratoga park would be relocated or re-purposed to existing parks, specifically, the existing basketball equipment will be relocated to Vester Park.

Vester Park is located just a couple blocks away at the corner of Farrow and Vester, which is on the north side of 9 Mile. There is a light and crosswalk at 9 Mile and Farrow.robert wittenberg election 2014 ad

“I believe that with this decision to sell the property, the city has an opportunity to focus attention and resources on other parks that have more use, visibility, and functionality,” Pawlica said. “We are currently spending resources cutting grass, removing trash and debris, and repairing the few pieces of equipment on a city owned piece of property that is the least used park in the city.  Allowing the property to be sold to a developer will create new taxable property, and the city no longer needs to maintain it by our Parks and Recreation Department or our Department of Public Works.”

For more on Ferndale Parks, check out the City’s Parks Directory at http://www.ferndalemi.gov/Services/City_Parks/Parks_Directory.

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