Rochester Hill’s Riverbend Park is Now Innovation Hills Park

City Council Renames Riverbend Park

Many communities have a Riverbend Park. When people suggested meeting at “Riverbend Park” – you used to have to ask, “Which one?” Riverbend Park was the official name of the Rochester Hills city park located north off Hamlin Road, between Adams and Crooks Roads, even though the entrance sign clearly showed “River Bend Park” as the name. However, none of that will mater now.

Riverbend Park to be Named Innovation Hills Park

Riverbend Park to be Named Innovation Hills Park

After a community-wide contest, the Rochester Hills City Council unanimously voted to change the name. Over 500 names were submitted and reviewed by the Naming Committee. The Committee narrowed the submissions to three considerations: Innovation Park, Inspiration Park, and Winding Waters Park. The committee requested additional refining and they selected Innovation Hills as the park’s new name. 

It is rumored that a woman who has never owned a bike won the Name That Park contest. The winner is to receive a new bike from KLM Bike & Fitness in Rochester Hills.

Rochester Hills Begins Work on First Park in 25 Years - photo by Michael Dwyer

Rochester Hills Begins Work on First Park in 25 Years – photo by Michael Dwyer

James Kubicina is the City Council Representative for the Naming Standing Committee. Along with Ken Elwert, Director of Parks, and four citizen representatives, the committee meets on an “as needed” basis for the purpose of naming and renaming city-owned spaces, such as parks.

The current citizen representatives are Darlene Janulis, Michele Gage, Tom Talbert, and Kristin Bull. Their term expires at the end of this year.  For residents interested in serving on the committee, they may complete this Candidate Questionnaire.

READ: Dear Crabby, What is the New Name for Riverbend Park?

Introducing Innovation Hills - Rendering Provided by the City of Rochester Hills

Introducing Innovation Hills – Rendering Provided by the City of Rochester Hills

Introducing Innovation Hills

The city desires this quality of life investment to be unique and different. With this in mind, the park will create innovative ways to enjoy nature, family, and the wildlife that currently call the park home. In the future, visitors will find innovative opportunities for new learning and quiet escapes from the daily grind.

As a city that prides itself on being innovative, discovering there is no other recreational park in the nation called Innovation Hills underscored just how perfect this new name is for the park.

From its inception, Mayor Bryan K. Barnett aimed to create a regional attraction unlike anything else in Southeast Michigan. Features of the park include ten acres of ponds for recreational use, a crescent overlook bridge, miles of trails and boardwalks, and the region’s largest universal play area for children of all abilities.

Universal Play Area for Children of all Abilities - Rendering Provided by the City of Rochester Hills

Universal Play Area for Children of all Abilities – Rendering Provided by the City of Rochester Hills

“The support we have seen for this new park from our community has been overwhelmingly positive,” states Mayor Bryan K. Barnett. “We’re excited to work with our community partners to help bring Innovation Hills to life.”

Early preparations for construction of the park’s first feature, a sensory garden, have already begun near the south end of the park. The Sensory Garden will be comprised of two different green spaces; a student designed and maintained area and a professionally designed garden, both will serve the public as a recreational sensory garden.

Rochester Hills Begins Work on First Park in 25 Years with the Sensory Garden

More than 100 people came together to celebrate the groundbreaking and construction of the Sensory Garden in Innovation Hills, formally known as Riverbend Park. Thanks to support from the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and The U.S. Conference of Mayors, the city received a $40,000 grant to fund the development as part of their national GRO1000 gardens and green spaces program. Scotts Miracle-Gro is a product of the worldwide Monsanto Company.

City Officials and Employees Worked with Students and Teachers from Hamlin Elementary School to Line Paths with Stones - photo by Michael Dwyer

City Officials and Employees Worked with Students and Teachers from Hamlin Elementary School to Line Paths with Stones – photo by Michael Dwyer

Hamlin Elementary fourth grade students and teachers volunteered on May 19 for the groundbreaking by creating stone-lined paths as part of the Sensory Garden. The garden is comprised of two different green spaces, a student-designed area and a professionally designed garden – covering 5,000 square-feet – both will be public recreational sensory gardens and will be inclusive and sensitive to those with disabilities. Through a partnership with the local schools, students will be actively involved in the garden’s programming.

“The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is honored to partner with Mayor Barnett and the City of Rochester Hills to help bring this innovative public green space to area residents,” said Su Lok, Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Vice President. “Our hope is that the lives of Rochester Hills residents would be greatly improved through the hands-on educational experiences and environmental programming it provides.”

Mayor Bryan K. Barnett speaks to Hamlin Elementary Students, Teachers, and Guests for the Dedication of the Sensory Garden at the New Innovation Hills Park - photo by Michael Dwyer

Mayor Bryan K. Barnett speaks to Hamlin Elementary Students, Teachers, and Guests for the Dedication of the Sensory Garden at the New Innovation Hills Park – photo by Michael Dwyer

The sensory garden is part of Mayor Bryan K. Barnett’s $7 million transformation of Innovation Hills. “This groundbreaking is the first step of an exciting journey for our community,” states Mayor Bryan K. Barnett. “We look forward to making Innovation Hills a statewide leader in outdoor recreation.”

Innovation Hills is located at 2800 W Hamlin Rd, Rochester Hills, MI 48309. To learn more, visit www.rochesterhills.org/innovationhills

The Naming Standing Committee

The creation of the Naming Standing Committee was approved by City Council on August 8, 2016 with the Naming/Renaming of City Parks, Buildings, Green Space and Facilities Policy. As the policy states, each proposal the Mayor determines to be worthy of consideration will be referred to a standing committee that is comprised of the Mayor or his/her representative, and the Director of Rochester Hills Parks Department, a member of the Historic Districts Commission, a City Councilmember, and one or more City resident volunteers.

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About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at Michael@RochesterMedia.com or @TALKTRAVEL

Comments

  1. Nancy Stocking says:

    Innovation Park sounds like a name for an industrial park. What was wrong with River Bend, or at least something more in tune with nature.

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