Michigan Municipal Leauge Review Magazine March/April 2023
FINALIST Excellence Award COMMUNITY
Centennial Commons: Reimagining a Parking Lot into a Green Gathering Space It was the City of Royal Oak’s pleasure to enthusiastically submit Centennial Commons for the Community Excellence Award. The two-acre greenspace is the heart of a public private development consisting of four projects—a new downtown park, a new city hall, a new police station, and the Henry Ford Medical Center. Most people, even our long-time residents, do not recall a time when a green space existed in Royal Oak’s downtown. The only known photograph of a former downtown park was taken in 1938. To say the city is excited about the return of a green and vibrant gathering space is an understatement. With input from our residents and a downtown park taskforce, landscape architects came up with a design that is compelling, creative, entertaining, and transformative. Where there was once a parking lot and functionally obsolete buildings, there are quality public gardens, lawns, playscapes, a water feature, an abundance of outdoor seating, a stage area, public art, a community table, and a modest rock-climbing wall. The clever design provides spaces for relaxation, rejuvenation, and recreation in the center of a lively downtown.
ROYAL OAK CENTENNIAL COMMONS
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