City Council Tuesday night (August 16) unanimously approved a motion enabling Taylor to enter into an agreement that would improve security and safety in Heritage Park.
The measure directs Police Chief Mary Sclabassi to sign a memorandum of understanding between the City of Taylor and Wayne County Community College Downriver District Campus Police, expanding the campus police’s jurisdiction throughout Heritage Park. The park is located directly west of the campus.
Sparked by a meeting between Mayor Rick Sollars and WCCCD Downriver Campus President Anthony Arminiak, and approved by WCCCD Chancellor Dr. Curtis Ivery, law enforcement officials from both the city and the college met earlier this summer to lay out a plan on how the college could better support Taylor Police in Heritage Park.
Chief Sclabassi noted that the arrangement is a partnership between the City at the college, and that WCCCD is willing to expand its patrol perimeters to include park, especially during nighttime and weekend hours. The campus police department upgraded its licensing to enable its officers to patrol a mile outside the campus. She said the Taylor-WCCCD plan is much like the relationship that Wayne State University police has with the City of Detroit, and that Taylor Police and campus security can work very well together.
Improved security at Heritage Park fits right into the many facility-related improvements going on at the park:
New seawall around Coan Lake
New splash pad has been open for its first summer season
Improvements continue inside and around the Sheridan Center and other pavilions
Two fountains are up and running at Coan Lake, with a third on the way
All new signage is planned
The Coan Lake dock has been power washed, boards replaced and it will be stained
The bridge is being power washed and repainted
Work is underway to restart the waterwheel and install lighting on it
Walking paths, fences and parking lots are being renovated
Fencing has been added to the new inline hockey rink
Basketball rims will be relocated to the Sheridan Center parking lot
Landscaping has been redone and new trees installed throughout the park
With all of this in the mix, Mayor Sollars couldn’t be happier with the security partnership.
“It is a great opportunity for Taylor to receive law enforcement support and coverage from WCCCD, at no cost to the City,” he said. “Our police have a lot of territory to cover in our community. Having WCCCD patrols come through Heritage Park on a regular basis helps insure the safety of our residents and the facilities and properties at the park. This fits into the greater vision that we both have for that particular area.”
That “greater vision” again goes back to the original discussions between Mayor Sollars and Arminiak. It focuses on WCCCD and the City creating a “cultural corridor” that would be anchored by the college and the park, including organizations that are either located directly in that area of Northline and Pardee, or groups that use the area on a regular basis. WCCCD has already announced plans to plan a new $15M horticultural center on its Downriver campus by 2018, likely to be located between the current campus and Heritage Park.
The cultural corridor would include the area between the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber offices along Northline Road, just to the east of WCCCD, west to the intersection of Pardee, and then north through the Sheridan Center Open Air Pavilion.
“The cultural corridor would create an organization with joint brand and marketing opportunities, and bring together groups that could support each other,” Mayor Sollars said. “We could create signage along the corridor, promote and discuss mutual concerns and goals, and have a joint online presence.”
The City and the college are working behind the scenes to create the corridor. In addition to organizations like WCCCD, the chamber of commerce and the City, other groups that they plan to contact include Taylor Soccer, Taylor South Little League (and possibly the other three Little Leagues in the City), Junior League World Series, Farmer’s Market, cycling clubs, library, Historical Society, Ecology Club, Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, Petting Farm, Goodwill Gardens, Enchanted Makeovers, Prechter Educational & Performing Arts Center, Healthy Taylor, Taylor School District, Taylor Dance, Taylor Relay for Life and many others.