According to the Daily Tribune newspaper, the City of Royal Oak, Michigan is in the process of establishing what is thought to be the nation’s first “Smart Park” in a pedestrian plaza within its trendy and vibrant downtown area. This unique pocket park, tentatively named Center Street Smart Park, will be equipped with the following features: “public WiFi, tables, solar-powered digital charging stations and other features.” The other features will include play elements for children, bike racks, sustainable landscaping, and rain gardens to limit storm water run-off.
With exception of the design plans, the park will be paid for through crowd-funding options and a match from the State of Michigan. These efforts will be initiated in April 2015 after the design plans are drawn up.
Many kudos to the City of Royal Oak for thinking outside the box and taking the planning of urban amenities to a whole new level. I can see “Smart Parks” dotting the nation in the very near future as a simple, worthwhile, and cost-effective economic development tool.