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Belize Park

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​​​​​​​​​​Park Address: 742 Fountain St  Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Access           Amenities          History​​

Hours and Rules
Open 6 a.m.-midnight with quiet hours beginning at 10 p.m. Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules. Smoking is prohibited, and dogs must be on leash.  ​

Overview

Belize Park is a modest-sized, roughly half acre neighborhood park located on the corner of Fountain Street and West Summit Street. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Ar​eas map​​ for location context. The park is located in a small low area where it feels protected from the street. 

The park offers play equipment for young children and open space for them to play, allowing children to run around and let their imaginations guide them in games to play. A short hill provides sledding possibilities in the winter. Near the play equipment is a seating area with benches, a picnic table, and water fountains--one for adults, one for children and one down at ground level for leashed dogs out for a walk with their owners. 

Tall trees provide plenty of shade in spring, summer and fall. In the back corner of the park is a rain garden, which collects runoff rainwater so the plants there can slow and clean the water before it enters our water system. The surrounding neighborhood is residential, with some houses dating back to the late 1800s. 

Access and Parking

The park is located at the corner of Fountain Street and Summit Street, and there is street parking on both of these streets.​

The park is accessible on foot by walking through the neighborhood sidewalks, and on bicycle by riding through the neighborhood streets.​​​

Public Transportation: The nearest bus stop on W Summit Street is ​about a minute walk from the park.  Visit The Ride for route and schedule details or check out the parks ride guide. ​​


 

Amenities


 


 

Volunteer 

There are many opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. GIVE 365 and the seasonal Adopt-a-Park Program offer volunteer opportunities ranging from a 90 minute commitment to a more long term ongoing role. If you are feeling the call to volunteer or give some time, reach out or explore the websites above to see what’s upcoming or how to get involved. 


 
Report a Problem - A2 Fix It 

To report any maintenance issues or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It​. Keep in mind that parks are large spaces and A2 Fix It requests can be difficult to find without detailed information. When reporting an issue in a park please include location details. There is a details and description section near the end of the request process to help you provide this. In addition, users can utilize the pin (website) or X (mobile app) feature to provide specific location information inside the park. Finally, please consider including a wide angle photo or include background landmarks, which helps staff find and fix the problem. ​​​​​​


 
Gifts and Donations

Information on donating to the parks and the Guide to Giving can be found here. Alternatively if you have a special project or park improvement idea that you want to donate your time and energy toward, a great place to start is through Adopt-a-Park and the proposing a special park project​ guide. For information on donating a tree through Adopt-a-Park, the tree donation guide​​​​​​​ can help you get started.  ​


History ​
As with some other Ann Arbor city parks, Belize Park – small though it is – did not come on board fully formed. It was pieced together from two land purchases at different times and with some outside funding assistance. At the time it was dedicated​ -- June 16, 1975 -- the park consisted of the property at 742 Fountain Street, which the city had acquired in 1974. Funds for purchasing that property came from a portion of the city’s 1966 voter-approved 2.5 million dollar park bond issue, matched by funds from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) grant.

 A small piece of land jutting out at a back corner of the park was added in 1992 when the city purchased the adjoining property at 517 Summit, selling most of it to become affordable housing but retaining the portion that would come to hold Belize Park’s rain garden.
You might wonder, why the name ‘Belize Park’ for a park in the middle of a neighborhood near Ann Arbor’s downtown? It has to do with sister cities.  Ann Arbor has several sister cities, and Belize City, Belize is one of the earliest ones. At the time Belize City became a sister city, in 1967, the country of Belize was British Honduras
and far from the tourist destination of today.
While at Belize Park you might notice commemorative words carved into the park’s wooden retaining wall. In 1965, tragically, two people were killed in a housefire that occurred at Essie Logan's house that stood on that site, and most likely had stood there since the late 1800s. The words on the wooden wall read: “In memory of Essie Logan who resided here.” Both 56-year-old Mrs. Essie Logan and four-year-old Michael Brown tragically died in the fire. The fire department crew responded but, unfortunately, rescue efforts failed.

A tidbit of history dating back to the mid-1800s links Belize Park (and Hunt Park) to Eberwhite Nature Area across town. What might that be, you could wonder? To learn more, be sure to read Belize Park History​.
 The neighborhood around Belize Park -- now commonly known as Water Hill -- for a long time was known as the
West Side​ and had a strong connection to Kerrytown. Some statistics on changes since 1970 in those two neighborhoods are shown here. But there is, of course, more to a story than just statistics.

In 1820 – before houses sprung up where fields of grass and wildflowers grew -- the hill holding Belize Park’s neighborhood was named Buttercup Hill. That name, though, seems to have disappeared from usage as the terrain took on a very different look.
The recent name Water Hill likewise draws attention to the hill holding Belize Park’s neighborhood. This name came about inadvertently from a music festival held there in the 2010s. Belize Park served as an island of tranquility in the exuberance of sidewalks and streets flowing with the peopled audience. It was in many ways a
very unique music festival. 

 In quieter past times a brook flowed and gurgled through the middle of Belize Park and fed into streams running a mill. A feature of Belize Park added in recent decades now captures the streams of water flowing there in heavy downpours, making for happier neighbors.

 This just touches on the history woven into the underlying fabric of Belize Park. To take a deeper dive into these and other aspects of Belize Park read Belize Park Histor​y by Martha Hill​ written ​in 2022.


Updated November 2021. Email [email protected]​a2gov.org for incorrect/outdated information.​