Waterworks Park: Our New Civic Venture
We had a great first year as the adopters of Waterworks Park!
AAF&G chose this park in the Old West Side to demonstrate our interest in civic projects. Civic projects increase our visibility within the city, and working on civic projects reignites our history of doing public projects.
Located between 7th and 8th streets and Liberty and Huron, Waterworks Park was created after Allen Creek was put underground in concrete culverts. Allen Creek still runs under the park. The land has a rich history reaching back to indigenous peoples who grew poppies along the creek banks. With no trace of Allen Creek left, now it is a 1.5-acre green space with a sloping lawn dotted with several trees and a path that runs through the center. There are three planting beds and a play structure for children.
Farm & Garden adopted the park from the City of Ann Arbor Parks Department. Our mission is to improve the park with new plantings and maintenance, educate neighbors about the park’s history and educate visitors about native plantings. The plan is for the neighbors to set up a “Friends of the Park” group, who will help with maintenance and who, in turn, will “adopt” the park from us.
Another primary goal is to give Ann Arbor Farm & Garden more visibility, more exposure. Very few people have heard about us and all the wonderful work we do in our community.
In June, we hosted a Neighborhood Get Together to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood. We offered children’s activities, treats, games, music, rock painting, and flower planting. The neighborhood was enthusiastic. Many people came out and participated and learned about our organization. The children enjoyed the rock painting and left their artistic expressions in the garden beds. We did a survey to discover what the neighbors think about the park. We found out their biggest concern was providing shade for the play structure. They spoke and we listened!
On October 7, we hosted a second Neighborhood Get Together to celebrate the planting of four new trees to shade the play structure. Farm & Garden donated $2,000 to jump start the purchase and installation of four large trees, and the City contributed enough money to buy and install large trees. Big red bows decorated the new dogwood, two pin oaks, and tulip tree. The residents were thrilled! We provided cider and donuts, pumpkin painting, pine cone bird feeder making and lawn games to celebrate the new tree plantings. See the slideshow to the left for highlights! Again, we had a good turnout of people despite the weather. We are keeping the trees watered until the ground freezes.
If you would like to be involved with this project, please join us! We have a committee of about 10 energetic members who help with monthly maintenance and organizing events with the neighbors. It has been a lot of fun and very rewarding. It feels good to be directly involved in improving a city park and working with the residents of Ann Arbor. Cindy Fink