The welcome center building at the site of the dog park at Ray Torres Lions Park.

Shannon Rossi

In November 2017, Southgate residents voted to pass a Parks and Recreation millage allowing for upgrades to parks across the city. The millage runs from July 1, 2018 through July 30, 2023.

“We began to plan park improvements before rolling out the Yes 2 Rec Campaign in support of passing the Recreation Millage,” said Southgate Parks and Recreation Director Julie Goddard. “Before passing this millage, many of our parks had not been touched in 20 years.”

Improvements have already taken place at several parks around the city. Rotary Park at Drake and Ludington Streets and Kiwanis Park on Trenton Road have been redone.

“Rotary Park received all new play equipment, new swings and picnic tables, and a resurfaced basketball court with new nets and signs,” she said.

Kiwanis Park, Southgate’s “train park,” has been completely overhauled. The park had already been home to Great Lakes Live Steamers, usually running their trains in the summer. The park now also boasts a new pavilion at the south end, a newly paved parking lot at the north end and a custom designed train-themed play area.

Southgate also will soon be home to a new dog park at Lions Park on Reaume Parkway. The space for the dog park was carved out last summer with construction work beginning on the Welcome Center and concrete work being done.

The Welcome Center building is now complete. It has restrooms and a dog wash area.  This building will serve as the entrance to the dog park, which will open later this spring or early summer.

“Fencing will be installed in the next few months, as well as some other additions throughout the dog park area,” she said.

This brand new addition to Lions Park will have areas for small dogs and large dogs. In order to enter the dog park, a membership with the Parks and Recreation Department will be required. Members will be provided with a key tag for entry.

“More information on the opening of the dog park will be coming out in the next few months,” said Goddard.

Lions Park also will undergo resurfacing and be fitted with new play equipment in April and May.

Most recently work has begun on redoing Cobb Park at the corner of Superior Street and Trenton Road. The old pavilion and play equipment have been removed.

“The park will be getting a new shelter and brand new play equipment and surfacing in April and May,” she said. “Work at Cobb Park will continue throughout this year and next. We plan on adding a full size basketball court and a parking lot.”

Outdoor parks are not the only places in Southgate that have benefitted from the Parks and Recreation Millage.

The first-ever brand new Zamboni was purchased for the ice arena, as well as some equipment needed for the South Winds golf course.

More big and small projects are in the works for the next two years. Improvements will continue throughout the city’s parks and recreation areas.

 “We’ll be adding various enhancements throughout the parks, working on our Nature Center on Leroy Road and adding new picnic tables and trash cans,” Goddard said.

To learn more about Southgate Parks and Recreation programs, parks and recreation areas or to contact the department, visit