Monday, October 5, 2015
In the spring of 1982, the City of Troy bought land that would become Firefighters Park. The land, located on the north side of Square Lake, between Crooks Road and Coolidge Highway, was purchased from a developer who leased a barn on the site to Tom and Sue Rudnicki. The couple ran a cooperative with other horse owners, mostly Troy teenagers. Their lease, transferred to the City in the sale, ended on October 1st, but their new barn wouldn’t be finished until the following spring.
The City was concerned about the low the rent, only $150 a month, and the risk of injury on what had become City property. Roger Kowalski, Parks and Recreation Director, stated the objection to the low-rent lease this way: “Why should the taxpayers of Troy subsidize residents’ and non-residents’ hobby?” The horse owners countered that the cost of boarding the horses elsewhere would be much more expensive, and it became clear that the teenaged horse owners would have to give up their horses if the City did not extend the lease.
In the end, the City extended the lease until April 1983, with two conditions: that the City receive liability waivers from the horse owners; and that the barn lessees, the Rudnickis, add the City to their liability insurance. Then-Councilwoman Jeanne Stine explained her support by saying, “…we stand to lose nothing but good will if we don’t allow these people (to stay)”.
Fink, Dan. 1982. Troy extends lease contract. Oakland Press, October 21.
Chestney, Marie. 1982. City to decide fate of horses Monday. Eccentric (Troy MI), October 7.
Chestney, Marie. 1982. Horse owners plead for extension of barn’s lease. Eccentric (Troy MI), September 23.
Eccentric (Troy MI). 1982. Horses allowed to ‘winter’ in Troy. October 11.
Funke, Doug. 1982. Stable owner wins extension of lease. Eccentric (Troy MI), October 21.
Image source: Stephen Cantrell, Troy Eccentric, September 23, 1982.
Firefighters’ Park Information
Area: 96 acres
One of Troy’s five major parks, Firefighters Park offers a mix of open space and wooded areas with a section of the Rouge River running through the north end and along its east border. Amenities include nine soccer fields, a barrier-free play structure, ball diamond, eighteen-hole disc golf course, sand volleyball courts, picnic shelter, shore fishing, restrooms and concession stand operated during scheduled soccer games.
Regulations: No swimming or boating. Shore fishing only. State of Michigan fishing license required. Michigan DNR fishing information.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org