By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – The Downtown Development Authority voted May 26 to re-name Memorial Park at Oakwood and Prospect Cardinal Park, hoping the re-branding will change its perception from a sacred space to multi-use.
Cardinals are the mascot for Melvindale High School, which is a block southwest of the park.
The pocket park, less than a year old, was built on the site of a former gas station with cleanup funding from the Downriver Community Conference and park construction funding from the Downtown Development Authority.
The park has a gazebo, benches and picnic tables, with a drinking fountain, paved walkways and trees planted on a berm on its east border, which will eventually screen it from neighboring businesses.
The Melvindale Farmers Market launched its season May 25 with a Flower Day in the park
Confusion arose over its standing as a sacred space because the park houses veteran memorial plaques from the former Melvindale Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6032.
Mayor Stacy Striz said active VFW members living in the city maintain the plaques.
The park currently doesn’t have any signage identifying it by name, Striz said, so a name change will not incur replacement costs.
Striz said she hopes clear communication will help position the park as a multi-purpose space as residents get to know it as a welcoming place.
The park drinking fountain is accessible to walkers, runners, and people in wheelchairs, Striz said, and even to dogs, and the park has multiple benches.
“It’s a nice place to be able to congregate and relax,” Striz said.