THE MAYA TEMPLE PLAYGROUND – Park #71

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”