Scout Park Coming Together, More Volunteers Needed
(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 12, 2019)
Hazel Park, MI – “When we pulled up there was a field and a stack of lumber,” said Madison Heights-Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce Director Keri Valmassei as she worked on drilling long screws into pieces of synthetic wood beams to form boxes for what will become a seating area in the brand new playscape of Scout Park.
Dozens of volunteers have been working all week, from 8am to 8pm, following the instructions on a giant kit playground that was donated to the City of Hazel Park by the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation. The design process was completed with public input sessions – with Hazel Park kids as the participants. This $350,000 park has one stipulation – that members of the community come together to do the work.
“Anybody over the age of ten can volunteer working with a parent, anyone over 16 we can find things for them to do,” Valmassei said. “Local businesses have been donating food, so there’s plenty to eat, and plenty of work to do.”
The goal is to finish up on Saturday so the community can celebrate the achievement.
Mayor Mike Webb and Councilperson Andy LeCrueaux took time off their respective businesses to work full time on the park project this week. “This is what we do,” LeCureaux said. “Mike is a mechanic and I work with builders and fix machines. It’s a lot of work, but it’s what we do.”
Nineteen year old Austin Baldwin has been helping out all week as well. Baldwin graduated in 2017, and is proud to be helping with a play structure for the younger Vikings behind him.
“It feels good to help and be part of the community,” he said. “And to see something like this come up from like nothing.”
City Manager Ed Klobucher has been awestruck from the beginning. “This gift to the community is so amazing. The Sutar-Sutaruk family has done so much for the City of Hazel Park. They were one of the first to get behind the Promise Zone. There are kids graduating from college right now thanks to that family. And now there’s this play structure that Hazel Park kids will be using for 30, 40 years,” he said.
That gratitude extends also to the many volunteers on hand. Wednesday afternoon a chain of wheelbarrows went from a cement truck at the street, into the park and around to the various poles that needed to be secured. While volunteers did that, others sawed the planks and laid out little projects for other volunteers to do – with everything happening at once, and coming together like a giant puzzle.
“This is something everyone can be proud of,” Klobucher said. “So come on down and help.”
Scout Park is located at 900 E. Otis in Hazel Park, just south of Nine Mile. Volunteers may come any time and sign in at the volunteer tent where they’ll be asked to sign a waiver. All skill levels are welcome. The project is expected to run through Saturday afternoon. Anyone is welcome to help, as long as they sign up at the volunteer tent.