By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – City and Wayne County officials, along with residents, celebrated the opening of the city’s second disc golf course on Oct. 4 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Lankford Park.
Mayor Wheeler Marsee said the ceremony marks a fresh start and new beginning for the city’s parks that serve both residents and the surrounding community.
“These parks have come a long way in the past 15 years,” Marsee said. “I was born and raised here, and I have been here all of my life, and this park didn’t have a lot of these trees when I was born, and what you had in these parks was what you carried in.”
He said the basketball court was one of the few recreational fixtures of the park back then, and he said he is very grateful that what was essentially a vacant field has evolved into what the park is now.
Marsee thanked Wayne County officials and the Community Development Block Grant program for making the park improvements possible, as well as officials from Hennessey Engineering, the Melvindale DPW team and Executive Secretary to the mayor and city council, Cecilia Dally.
Wayne County Commissioner Ilona Varga (D-4th District), said it warms her heart to be able to do this for Melvindale with the help of the team from Wayne County.
“It is so good and heartwarming to be able to leave this behind for our young kids,” she said. “It is going to be here for years to come, after we are gone, and I am just overjoyed that I could be part of this.”
Neighbor Lois Chiello said she remembers when former Palmer Elementary School used to sit on the land that is now Lankford Park.
She said it is a beautiful park, and a great place to spend family time together, whether using the shelter for a birthday party, or playing basketball or disc golf.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner Barbara Cagle said she is filled with joy and happiness when she looks around Lankford Park, and said the new additions to the park are great for families to enjoy together.
“It’s a big, beautiful park, and there is so much here for families to do,” she said. “I just love it when I come out here. It’s so relaxing.”
Wayne County Community Development Director Terry Carroll said the Community Development Block Grant Program changed a few years ago, to provide more money to lower income communities.
“Melvindale was one of the ones that wound up doing very well under the new program, and we are well on our way to doing all of the rest of the parks in Melvindale,” he said.