One of a Kind Playground Receives $200,000 Gift for Rochester Hills Park

Moceri Family Gives Largest Donation in Innovation Hills History

The City of Rochester Hills is excited to announce that a $200,000 donation has been given to the city’s newest park, Innovation Hills. This is the single largest monetary donation the city has received for this fundraising campaign to date.

The gift will launch the development of the region’s largest universally accessible play area. The universal play area provides an opportunity for the children in the community to learn in a welcoming, comfortable, and innovative environment. Visitors of all ages and abilities will be able to utilize this space to connect with nature and tap into their imagination in a way that is more flexible than traditional manufactured playground equipment.

Artist rendering of the playground for Innovation Hills

Moceri Family Gives Largest Donation in Innovation Hills History

The one of a kind features of Innovation Hills, combined with its proximity to major regional roadways, will make this park a unique destination for families looking for recreational opportunities that are all-inclusive and sensitive to the needs of children with sensory disorders.

“Our family’s passion is to provide enjoyment for all children and adults with disabilities to encourage and empower them to smile, laugh, learn, and play,” states Dominic J. Moceri, Partner at Moceri Homes. “This particular gift will be matched by the City Council, turning $200,000 into $400,000 and will be leveraged to assist the city in future grant opportunities. This accessible park and sensory garden will provide innovative features for local families and we are proud to be a part of that.”

The play area will integrate natural materials like logs, dirt, tree stumps, grassy hills, sand, natural bridges, and streams in a way that’s never been done before in the region.

From the beginning, Innovation Hills has been driven by the generous financial support of our residents, businesses, and community,” states Mayor Bryan K. Barnett. “We are thankful for families like the Moceris who have both visionary leadership and generous hearts that are making this dream a reality.”

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help provide long-term support to Innovation Hills, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 248-656-4664.

Located at 2800 W Hamlin Road, Innovation Hills contains over 100 acres of undeveloped woodlands, wetland, and prairie habitat. Users discover high overlooks providing spectacular views of the Clinton River. As the largest outdoor classroom in the region, Innovations Hills will provide a wide variety of hands-on educational opportunities that promote experiential learning and a long term appreciation for nature.

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  1. AnnMarie Ottoy says

    Will there be wheelchair accessible aspects to the park?

    • Please see the comment below …

    • Thanks for your email. The majority of the park includes Universal Design elements to make it a great experience for all. We are working to develop this playground to be a unique destination universally designed for all individuals, including those with autistic challenges, in a wheel chair, or anyone who just wants to play.

      While still very much a work in progress, specific elements we are working towards include:
      -A swing set that allows people to stay in their wheel chair as they swing
      -Natural colors on all materials to reduce the stimulation caused by bright colors
      -A cool down or cocoon area for those that are overstimulated or just need to calm down away from groups of people
      -A shallow running stream with elevations that allow for individuals in wheel chairs to interact with the water without getting out of their chair
      -Some play areas separated from others in small coves, that decreases the tension of those for those that are effected by larger group activity and noise
      -Other swing sets that allow for easy transfer from wheel chairs into saucers (and also allows multiple people on the saucer)
      -Ability for those in wheel chairs to experience the second level of a tree house under their own power by crossing a bridge from elevated ground directly to the second level. If desired, the person could then transfer out of the wheel chair and slide down, with the support of a caregiver that transfers the wheel chair to the bottom. Many slides cannot be made accessible to wheelchair users because of stairs and elevation.

      Ken Elwert, Director
      Parks and Natural Resources, City of Rochester Hills

  2. Stephen J. Tye says

    This phase of INNOVATION PARK is just another stepping stone in a dream park for the city of Rochester Hills that will continue to lead the area in improving the quality of life here for all of our residents. My family has enjoyed the river, animals, paths and natural areas within this park for almost 40 years. Fortunately, now my grand children have the same passion for the natural setting as it improves every year.

  3. Lois Golden says

    Will you alert the public to the extreme contamination?

    • Thank you for your question. We, like all of our users, are always concerned about the safety of our parks and are fully committed to providing a safe experience for all. Because of this we have conducted four environmental studies (380 pages) focusing on soil and water on this property since 1991. We even conducted a soil analysis last year (2017) in a slightly different area than previous studies due to expressed citizen concerns – the study showed no soil contamination due to manmade impact. Previous studies showed no “extreme contamination.”

      We are fully convinced that Innovation Hills will be a safe and unique experience for all and an area our community can be proud of. Because a forum post is a difficult place to have a detailed conversation on this topic, I encourage anyone concerned with this topic to call or email me for more information.

      Ken Elwert, Director, Parks and Natural Resources
      City of Rochester Hills,

  4. Watch this intro video about Innovation Hills, and yes, it will be wheelchair accessible.

  5. Noreen Facca/Craig says

    A Comment from Noreen Facca/Craig: I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Moceri and sons for all the absolutely amazing upgrades to our community. They have been very generous in countless ways…not just monetarily which is huge but in making our city more family friendly, beautiful, honorable, and fun. The Moceri family thought of everyone, from the children on the playgrounds, to building royal Senior Centers, improving hospital care at Beaumont and the NIC unit, improving education at Oakland University, spectacular home developers, and most importantly creating a park to honor our beloved veterans. I am not even doing justice to their long list of services to our community but I hope they continue to lead us down this amazing path in an area we call home. Many thanks to each of you, especially to Mr. and Mrs. Moceri.

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