|Balduck Hill Detroit January 2, 2013|
Getting out of the car I heard kids screaming. No, not what many people might expect in Detroit. These were the kind of screams heard at amusement parks and wave pools. They were the screams of children playing by sledding down a big hill - of urban children who had the rare opportunity to take healthy risks and learn the boundaries of those risks. Most people there say excuse me, smile, take sledding ideas from each other, laugh a lot, and compliment each other on their sleds and skills. There was no sun in the sky, no money exchanged - just a free snow-covered hill plopped in a city. From that comes hours and hours of fun and the wonder of childhood memories being made. EVERYONE who grows up within a few miles of this hill holds it in their heart a little, even when they grow up.
On the hill were several children from the suburb next to the park (yes, Detroit shares this park without requiring outsiders to be residents to enjoy its awesomeness). I saw one suburban mom kindly share her child's snow board with a child from Detroit who didn't have one. It may be the only chance he has to be exposed to that sport. Ideally, there should be an instructor up there and snow boards for kids with permission slips to give it a try. I don't need to tell anyone that African Americans are underrepresented in winter sports but it doesn't have to stay that way in Detroit.
From a City of Detroit management perspective, the little community house behind the hill should be open. There should be cleaned off/repaired stairs to the hill, restrooms, concessions of warm and healthy foods and beverages, gloves/hats/handwarmers for sale, free used or new winter coats for kids who need them, sled and snowboard rental at a sliding scale, free and open basic instruction during school breaks and on weekends and ice skating/sliding scale ice skate rental below - maybe even a chance for kids in Detroit to learn hockey outside of Clark Park. It would be a foolish mistake to think that more of our very near suburban neighbors would not indulge in a park that was well run, safe and offered all these kinds of winter recreation. City revenue just waits to made in Detroit.
|Balduck Park Trees Summer 2012|
Many people like to walk their dogs at this park. For those who like their dog to be off their leashes, there is a fenced-in dog park.