City pushes parks vote in Coke contest

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — Few things are as American as a community park, and city officials think Kiwanis Park should be recognized as one of the best, with a $100,000 top prize at stake.

Online voting continues through July 15 for the Coca-Cola Co. “Take it to the Park” contest, awarding grants totaling nearly $200,000 for upgrades to local parks and recreation facilities.

Mayor Joseph Kuspa said Kiwanis Park seemed the ideal recipient for such a grant, a continuation of revitalizing efforts made in recent years.

“We’re trying to get Kiwanis into the contest and hopefully prevail,” Kuspa said. “We just put in the pavilion last year, and we have a nearly half-million dollar ‘things we want to do’ list.”

City officials hope to encourage the public to vote — up to 10 times a day —at — or link to it via The Official Southgate Michigan Facebook Page.

Kuspa said Kiwanis Park is one of two in the state which features, free of charge, Great Lakes Live Steamers miniature train rides which have become a Christmas and Halloween favorite. Last year a master plan for the park, at Trenton and Leroy streets, was approved and work began on phase one of an ambitious plan, which brought upgrades to the pavilion and picnic areas.

Future plans seem consistent with the emphasis of Coca-Cola’s grant program, to encourage physical fitness and outdoor activities at the local level.

The social media contest allows 10 online votes daily, which multiply in value by five if cast via foursquare, and by 10 through MapMyFitness.

(James Mitchell can be reached at