Clarkston Nearing Fundraising Goal for Depot Park, March 1 Deadline for Matching Funds

Clarkston Nearing Fundraising Goal for Depot Park, March 1 Deadline for Matching Funds

(Lara Mossa, Feb. 21, 2019)

CLARKSTON, MI – The city of Clarkston has until March 1 to raise $50,000 for improvements to Depot Park. After the fund-raising drive, the city intends to apply for a grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to provide matching funds for a total of $100,000.

UPDATE: The deadline has been extended from March 1 to March 7.

“This is a little central park,” said Eric Haven, Clarkston’s mayor. “New York has nothing on us. We have a central park too. It’s a little jewel.”

The 35-acre park located next to village hall dates back to the 1960s. With 80 percent wetlands, the park has benches, a gazebo, planters, pathways for biking and jogging and a small playscape. The city has been working on plans to install a new, larger play structure, ADA compliant pathways, an amphitheater and covered pavilions with public restrooms along with ambient lighting and sound and a boardwalk that leads to Deer Lake Beach.

The city is seeking tax-deductible gifts that include cash, stocks and bonds; IRA distributions, legacy life insurance, real estate and endowments as well as materials and labor. In addition, donors are asked to provide letters of support to help secure institutional funding. The campaign started in January and is almost halfway to meeting its goal. With Haven leading the charge, the city sent mailers to all 900 residents and placed newspaper articles seeking help.

“This is the kind of spirit that is going to be engendered in Clarkston again,” Haven said. “It is really noble in these times.”

Currently, the city hosts summer concerts in the gazebo, but with a new amphitheater could hold bigger performances, theatrical events and even movies. The ADA-compliant pathways would allow people to use a walker, wheelchair or bicycle to traverse the park. While there is a tarmac path in place that runs parallel to White Lake Road to the beach, a boardwalk would provide benches and more comfortable traveling.

Along with the grant, the city has already installed some new playground equipment. With a sizable donation from the local Optimist Club, the city installed a new tire swing, tot swing and a geodesic claiming dome as well as a cozy cocoon that rotates and is appropriate for autistic children last summer. The Optimist Club also started a Go Fund Me page through Facebook to raise money for the playscape.

Within the last two years, the city held community meetings to create the site plan – a requirement of the DNR grant. If the money is raised and the grant is approved, the city could make all the improvements in the summer of 2020.

“It is our central park. It’s a place in the middle of our village where people gather and enjoy the environment as well as the amenities,” Haven said, speaking of the local boutiques and restaurants that line the downtown.

Donors can make contributions in one installment or incrementally through the next five years. Recognition plaques are being designed and will be posted to honor them. Letters can be sent to Jonathan Smith, City Manager at the City of the Village of Clarkston at 375 Depot Road in Clarkston, Mich. 48346. Inquiries can be made at 248-625-1559 or with Smith’s e-mail address

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