By DREW HOWARD
Rochester Hills’ first new park in 25 years is now one step closer to becoming a reality.
On Monday, January 31, city officials announced that the Moceri family donated $200,000 toward the development of Innovation Hills, the single largest monetary donation the city has received in its fundraising efforts thus far.
Innovation Hills is being touted as the region’s “largest universally accessible play area,” according to a recent press release. Plans for the park include a sensory garden, an accessible play area for individuals of all abilities, and pathways through nature designed for runners, bikers and walkers.
The park will be located at 2800 W. Hamlin Road and stretch over 100 acres of undeveloped woodlands, wetland and prairie habitat. Other plans for the park include a tree swing, a sky run zip track, a pavilion, and a space for public art.
“Our family’s passion is to provide enjoyment for all children and adults with disabilities to encourage and empower them to smile, laugh, learn and play,” Dominic J. Moceri said. “This accessible park and sensory garden will provide innovative features for local families and we are proud to be a part of that.”
It was also announced that the City Council will match the Moceri family’s $200,000 donation. Mayor Bryan Barnett said Innovation Hills will probably cost close to $1 million.
Barnett and several council members shared their excitement about the donation at the city council meeting on February 5.
“I just want to thank specifically Mrs. Moceri and Dominic Moceri and their entire family for their generosity,” Barnett said. “They’re not just giving a contribution, but they’re actively advocating among their circles about the benefits of this park and about the mission of this park.”
“It’s just really fantastic to see this private public partnership coming together to once again leave behind a legacy in the city that we can be proud of,” Council Member Deel said. “It just goes to show how we in this city as stakeholders come together, and when we do, we do great things.”
Barnett noted that an announcement will be made later this month about a “very impressive” fund total the city has reached that will hopefully allow them to move forward.
The Moceri family’s donation joins a growing list of contributions. These include Scotts Miracle Grow’s $40,000 donation to the sensory garden, Chief Financial Credit Union’s $60,000 donation to the water wall at the park’s entrance, and the Modetz family’s undisclosed donation.
This is not the first time the Moceri family has given back to the community. In November 2016, the family helped fund three new facilities at Beaumont Hospital in Troy: the Frances and Dominic Moceri Learning Center, a medical training facility, and the Frances & Dominic Medical Intensive Care Unit.
Anyone interested in providing long-term support to Innovation Hills is encouraged to contact the Mayor’s Office at 248-656-4664. For more information about Innovation Hills, visit rochesterhills.org/innovationhills.