In the past I’ve noticed photos of this paved area on Detroit centric sites with no explanation. It looked odd. I never knew the location so I just filed it away in my brain with the rest of the clutter. Recently, through an incident of like mindedness, a fine Detroit artist and photographer asked me to find the background on this “Mayan Temple” play area.
Mystery solved. It’s a fancy schmancy Richard Dattner Adventure Playground and the remnants of a hopeful past.
THE GREAT SOCIETY AND WAR ON POVERTY
*Please note this is a condensed Campbell style soup gloss over of this federal program.*
Back in the late 60’s through 1974, Detroit and Highland Park were participants in President Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Model Cities’ program which aimed to eliminate poverty and curb violence; create alternative municipalities and strong urban black leaders. With a Nixon era shift in politics, it morphed into a program of urban housing and development. Detroit led the way; Highland Park got in for the ride in June 1969. Both municipalities received a bunch of federal money and tried to create a model city within itself. Highland Park received high fives in local papers for good project management. Detroit received acclaim for participation; overall the Model Cities program was considered a large failure. Continue reading “THE MAYA TEMPLE PLAYGROUND – Park #71”