Donation Will Help Develop 70-Acre Park in Rochester Hills
Mayor Bryan Barnett announced the development of Riverbend Park at his State of the City address; a donation from longtime residents Steve and Darlene Stolaruk will make it happen.
A new park — one featuring walking and jogging trails, an arboretum and canoe launches — will be developed this year in Rochester Hills.
Mayor Bryan Barnett announced the creation of what he called a "legacy park" during his annual State of the City Address on Wednesday night.
About 250 people gathered inside an auditorium at Emagine Theatre to listen to Barnett and watch on the big screen as he told the city's success story. (Read and watch: Dancing Mayor Tells the Rochester Hills Story.)
Amid all the positives — the city's 5 percent unemployment rate and 7 percent industrial park vacancy rate — Barnett kept coming back to one common theme during his address: the quality of life, which relies heavily on the city's parks.
"We know our residents say they love our parks," Barnett said in introducing the new park project.
The new park will be developed on 70 acres on the northeast corner of Hamlin and Adams roads that is known now as Riverbend Park. A gift from longtime residents Steve and Darlene Stolaruk will make the park possible.
The amount of the gift was undisclosed Wednesday. It will "transform our parks system and provide recreational and educational opportunities that are one-of-a-kind for generations to come," Barnett said.
It will be designed as a natural, eco-friendly park and include:
- Paths for walking and jogging
- Canoe launches
- Habitat restoration
- Wetland trails
- An arboretum
A small parking lot will be built in the park for visitors.
"With the development of this health park I want to excite and encourage the people of Rochester Hills to enjoy the wholesome and healthy lifestyle and the benefits this park can provide to each of us," said the Stolaruks, as quoted by Barnett during his address.
Last year, a graduate class from Lawrence Technological University spent a semester exploring and envisioning the development of the Riverbend site; however, because there was not funding in the city's budget to develop a park, the plans "began to gather dust," Barnett said.
This year "we'll be able to open the first new park in recent memory and first on the city's southwest side since the 1980s," Barnett said.
This is the second park-related project the city will embark upon this year. Last month, Rochester Hills leaders approved plans for the city's first Community Garden at Wabash Park.