Explore: Innovation Hills Park in Rochester Hills
(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 26, 2021)
Rochester Hills, MI – When I first explored Innovations Hills last December, it was impressive even in the chilly season. It seemed fitting to go back to see this magical place in full bloom, especially for a sunset viewing. Only here, that I know of, can a perfect sunset be topped with a stroll along paths with glow-in-the-dark stones. It is like walking around in the stars. And it is splendid.
I even found a chubby little frog hanging out among the illuminated flecks, and the croaking of others was heard too, rivaled only by the sound of crickets
Before dark I enjoyed exploring the trails. Some parts are paved. Some are dirt. And part of the park has a raised wooden boardwalk that is accessible for all to be out in nature.
Of course the swiftly flowing water of the Clinton River makes for picturesque views and a chance to ignore the bustling cities all around this little oasis. They’ve even added a kayak launch station to make it easy for people to enjoy the waterway.
The front of Innovation Hills, which has the sparkly walkways, also has an artistic water feature, places for people to sit, and even a charging station with multiple plugs for cell phones. It was nice just to find a spot by the water and get some work done while the sky went slowly through it’s colorful phases of sunset.
Another part of the park has a flower garden and a gigantic new play area being built.
I checked in with Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett to find out specifically what was new in this ever-growing park-in-progress.
He said that the boardwalks are being expanded to create a “South Loop,” with clearing underway and construction starting soon. If all goes well people will be walking through the new section just in time to see the leaves changing for the fall.
A recent gift from Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital and the Ascension Providence Rochester Foundation is helping to underwrite the boardwalk expansion. Their $500,000 gift is blossoming into Ascension Providence Rochester Boardwalks at Innovation Hills. “We are truly grateful for their generosity and for the legacy this commitment will have on our community,” Mayor Barnett said.
He’s also proud of the community coming together to make the inclusive playground at Innovation Hills happen. “Our all inclusive playground is on track to open by the end of July or the beginning of August,” he said. “It will truly be a one-of-a-kind regional attraction. Every day there’s something new going up there! You can see all of the developments in real time through the time-lapse camera we’ve installed at the park, easily accessible through our website.”
“We were absolutely thrilled with the community’s recent response to our crowdfunding campaign for the playground that raised over $80,000 which qualified us to receive an additional $50,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Over 300 residents and businesses contributed to that campaign, with gifts ranging from a few dollars to several thousand dollars. Every dollar helps! The overwhelming grassroots support for the park has been truly phenomenal and humbling,” he said.
Check out places to Explore in Oakland County and beyond in the Oakland County Times Explore Index.
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