By Alexandra Pacurar
Detroit—Ground was broken on the $1 million upgrade of the Viola Liuzzo Park, located on the northwest side of Detroit. The green area will feature a playground with new equipment, a picnic shelter, two pickle ball courts, fitness equipment, new walkways and an attractive, environmentally sustainable landscape design.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), together with the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department and the Viola Liuzzo Park Association decided to include innovative green infrastructure into the park in order to make it more inviting and improve Motor City’s water quality. Specifically, the plan includes building bioretention gardens that use the natural processes of soils and plants to take in rainwater from roads and sidewalks, before it reaches and overwhelms the city’s sewer system.
“The three bioretention areas will provide beauty to the neighborhood, enhancing the park’s features, while minimizing the risk of storm water runoff flooding nearby streets,” Palencia Mobley, DWSD’s deputy director, said in a prepared statement.
The Viola Liuzzo Park project is the first of the “40 Neighborhood Parks” plan announced by Mike Duggan and worth $12 million. The investment is financed with bond money that have gone unspent for decades, according to Detroit’s CFO, John Hill. In total, 10 parks will be renovated this summer and 30 are scheduled for next year.
Viola Liuzzo was a civil rights activist from Detroit who was assassinated in 1965 as she returned from a rally in Montgomery, Alabama. She was a mother of five and the city named a park in her honor in the 1980s.