When the City of Detroit threatened to close Southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, in the early 1990s, a group of neighbors decided to take matters into their own hands. They rescued a set of keys from a city employee and have kept the park open ever since. Once a hot spot for illicit activity, Clark Park is now a beloved neighborhood gem.
The large park is bounded by Clark Street on the west, Scotten Street on the east, West Vernor Highway to the north, and the Fisher Freeway Service Drive to the south. The park’s north end features open greens for picnicking or reading and shady paths for strolling. Anyone can use the tennis courts on a first-come, first-served basis. The south side of the park has fields for softball and baseball, an outdoor ice rink for youth leagues and public skating during the winter.
Clark Park is also a bit of a celebrity hot spot: Jack White of the White Stripes grew up in the area and helped renovate the baseball fields and the Red Wings have held practice at the park in recent years, while chipping in to help maintain the rink. The elementary, middle, and high schools surrounding the park also use it for recreation, especially the large jungle gym and play area on the park’s southeast side. New fitness facilities scattered throughout the park make it a great stop before, during, or after a neighborhood run. Events such as the Winter Carnival, Cold Hearted ice skating party and the Frozen Fish Fiasco hockey tournament give you a reason to visit year-round.
Thinking about checking out Clark Park for e a picnic? Get your coffee from Café Con Leche at the park’s north end (4200 W Vernor) and a sweet from Mexicantown Bakery (4300 W Vernor). Or maybe a frozen treat at La Michoacana, the ice creamery at the corner of West Vernor Highway and Clark Street (4336 W Vernor)? Armando’s Restaurant (4242 W Vernor) also has a dedicated take out section if you’re looking for a full meal. Grab your snack and a seat on a bench or a grassy spot on the lawn and enjoy the sunshine!