Wheeler Park


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Wheeler Park is just under two acres in size, located located ​north of downtown Ann Arbor in the Kerrytown area. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas Map​ for location context. This par​k is packed with activities! The park contains a playground, a restroom building with a water fountain, a small paved track for running and walking, a basketball court, a plaza with benches, a picnic shelter with picnic tables and grills, an open field area and a​ paved walk connecting to all of the activities. The paved path receives winter snow clearing​. Contact park rentals for information on renting the shelter or hosting an event at Wheeler Park. Wheeler Park is across the street from a path and tunnel ​under the railroad that connects to Bandemer Park, the Argo Dam, and Argo Park & Nature Area. Wheeler is also a very short walk from Depot Park​, the smallest park in the city.​​

Park Notices

Unless otherwise posted per City Council resolution, when a park is closed, no person shall remain in or enter it other than to quietly sit or walk.​

Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for park regulations and rules.

Park Hours

6 a.m. – 10 p.m.​



Drinking Fountain




Restrooms (Open Seasonally)


Basketball Courts



Picnic Tables


Open Field


Picnic Shelter


Landfill & Recycling Bins


Paved Paths



Access and Parking

Wheeler Park is openly accessible on Fourth Avenue, Depot Street, and Fifth Avenue. Two hour street parking is available on these and nearby streets. This​ is enforced Monday-Friday from from 8 a.m to ​6 p.m.​ There are some metered spaces on Depot and the lot next to the Amtrak station. Refer to posted signage regarding parking rules and restrictions.

Wheeler Park can be reached on foot and bicycle using the surrounding streets, which all have sidewalks. There are bike lanes on part of Depot and Fifth. There are bike racks in the park.

Public Transportation

There is a bus stop located three minut​es away at Beakes and Summit. Wheeler Park is also across the street from the Amtrak Station ​located on Depot Street. Downtown Ann Arbor and the Blake Transit Center is about a 20 minute walk from Wheeler Park.​ ​Visit TheRide for schedule and route details or check out the Parks Ride Guide​.​​

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Ann Arbor's city parks sit on the ancestral and traditional homelands of several indigenous Native peoples. Read a land acknowledgement from the city and learn more about the early history of the land here​.​​

Wheeler Park, originally known as Summit Street playground, is surrounded by some of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Park records note that the City Public Works yard had used this land but relocated and the park department developed a playground that was only a half acre space. A special​ report by the Sunda​​​y Daily in 1969 gives​​​ a glimpse into the history of this centrally located park: “Before the turn of the century, Summit was a hitching station for horse-driving teamsters. Later the station was leveled, and the plot was used by an ice rink by local residents. But the open space was wedged between homes on one side and Peter’s Sausage Co. on the other. Adjacent to the park was Lansky’s Junkyard. Peter’s butchered its pigs in traditional style, "filling the air with dying squeals and the smell of innards being boiled for glue”. Still, as the only playground in what at the time was the city’s Black neighborhood, neighbors say the park was always busy. Coleman Jewett​, who grew up in the area, was an enduring presence, organizing activities for the parks department all summer long and refereeing games. Lifelong neighbor Claude Baker, born in 1940, recalls playing baseball on the lot next to the sausage company. If the ball was hit onto Summit Street (which still ran through at the time), "it was a ground rule double."

​History Timeline
1958 -North Central Property Owners Association (NPCOA)​ was founded by Rev. C.W. Patterson of 2nd Baptist Church and Walter Wickliffe, a lifelong neighborhood resident and city forester.  After Walter's death, his sister Letty Wickliffe led NCPOA for nearly thirty years. NCPOA through the decades highlights the community members who have advocated for Wheeler Park and this neighborhood. Today the association is known as the North Central Neighborhood Association. ​​​​​​​

1961  The Ann Arbor News reports a new park shelter at Summit playground. The shelter was used for ice skaters in the winter and for organized recreation in the summer. 

1975 – After 15 years of negotiations, the City successfully finds Lanksy's salvage annex/yard a new home, acquiring the north part of Lanksy's junkyard property for the long desired expansion of Summit Park.

1977 – The Ann Arbor Observer reported in November of 1977 that "Summit Park is Done at Last". Not without some controversy. Albert Wheeler was the mayor at this time and was closely involved in the development, advocating fiercely for the park. As the first African American mayor for the city, he advocated to ensure that the park offered the activities youth desired and worked with the Model Cities Policy board to bring the funding and grant money forward. The roller skating rink was a point of contention and opposed by the neighbors which resulted in council voting to eliminate the skating track from development. Mayor Wheeler vetoed the council’s vote to prevent it from being eliminated. That track remains today and the park was a long awaited success featuring some unique play pieces that are highlighted in this Summit Park 1977 design brochure. The beehive climber was a favorite for many years.​

1981 ​ The park selected to receive a National Honor Award in the 1981 the Professional Grounds Management Society Awards program for the “Best Maintained Park and Recreation Area”. 

Wheeler Park

In 1987, council renames the park to honor Albert Wheeler thus beginning a new era for Wheeler Park. To learn more about the park namesake, read the Story of Albert Wheeler​ by Ryan Stanton or dive in to the Ann Arbor Observer 1976 articles about Wheeler. 

Image of Albert and Emma Wheeler with biography of Albert

April 4, 1994 – Albert Wheeler passed away leaving a legacy of accomplishments​.

In the mid 90s, almost 20 years after the initial park development, the process began for making improvements and updates to Wheeler Park. There was continued community involvement and advocacy for safety. Improvements and repairs on sidewalks, fences, benches, landscape and other infrastructure upgrades are approved in a 1996 resolution.

In 2010, the playground equipment was updated to what you see today.

Wheeler Park remains an important park in the African American community. An annual Juneteenth event occurs every year in June hosted by the Ann Arbor Branch of the NAACP

In 2020 the Juneteenth March for Racial Justice was a wa​lk event that ended at Wheeler Park. This was a modified Juneteenth event hosted during the 2020 pandemic when the Black Lives Matter movement was gaining national understanding and attention. The event was a partnership between t​he Ann Arbor Branch of the NAACP, Protectors of Equality in Government, Ann Arbor Parks (GIVE 365) and the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovation.

Commemorative plaque on a rock 

Recent Developments

In 2020, the Allen Creek Railroad Berm Project was completed, resulting in a tunnel under the railroad to create a path that connects Wheeler Park to the Border-2-Border trail (B2B). The trailhead is accessed at the corner of Depot and Fifth Street, just across the crosswalk at the North East corner of the park. View the Allen Creek Berm Project video from Mayor Christopher Taylor to learn more about this project. ​


Active Adopters

A special group of park neighbors have cared for the amazing gardens at Wheeler Park and North Main Park for many years! Be sure to check out the garden in the growing season where you will find yarrow, false sunflower, and more. Reach out to [email protected]​ or call 734-794-6445 if you would like to be kept in the loop of any volunteer workdays or otherwise involved in caring for the gardens at Wheeler Park. 

First Martin Corporation has been a maintenance sponsor and partner at Wheeler Park for several decades making sure this park always looks sharp and welcoming.


Volunteer in the parks

Looking to make an impact in a park or nature area? Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation provides volunteer opportunities for almost every interest, ability, and commitment level.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities
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