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Wurster Park

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​​​​Wurster 2018 photo 2.jpg
Park Address: 525 W Madison Street​
Access & Parking           Amenities            History           Active Adopters

Hours and Rules​

Open 6 a.m.-10 p.m.  Smoking is prohibited and dogs must be on leash.  Refer to Chapter 39 of the City of Ann Arbor Code of Ordinances for full list of park regulations and rules and refer to posted park signage at Wurster Park.  ​Alcohol is prohibited without approved permit-contact park rentals for policies and rules related to rentals and special uses. ​

​​​​​​Overview​

​​​​​Wurster is a 5.5 acre park close to downtown Ann Arbor, in the Old West Side neighborhood. It is located between W Liberty Street and W Stadium Boulevard, and S Seventh Street and S Main Street. View the Ann Arbor Parks and Nature Areas Map for location context​. This is a mixed use park with a variety of amenities and attractions that offers something for all.  A playground and sand volleyball court sit in the middle of the park, as well as an informal soccer field. The park provides many grassy areas to relax, observe nature or enjoy a picnic. There are many natural features in the park that are worth checking out including several native pollinator gardens and two champion oak trees. Much of the park sits on a hill which allows you to see a partial skyline of downtown Ann Arbor.

​Access and Parking

​​Wurster Park can be accessed ​​from three sides.  The park address on West Madison Street will direct you to the north entrance which has free street parking. There is a park entrance point to the east at the corner of Third Street and West Mosely Street. The south park entrance is located off of the Edgewood Place cul-de-sac. Be sure to follow all posted parking signage regarding street parking as there are limited parking options at these entrances. There is a 500 foot paved path on an incline that connect all the entrances and many of the park amenities. 

The park is located near several other city parks including Eberwhite Nature Area to the west and Allmendinger Park to the south.

Public transportation: The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (The Ride) operates the public transit system for greater Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area.  There is a bus stop conveniently located at the West Madison Street park entrance. Visit The Ride for route and schedule details and check out the parks ride guide for information on visiting parks by bus.  


​​​​Amenities

  • Picnic tables and benches - view asset map for specific amenity locations
  • Playground
  • Sand volleyball court​
  • Horseshoe pit
  • Paved walking path through the park (see winter in the parks​ for snow clearing information).

Park Stewardship

Champion trees

​Wurster Park is home to two champion trees that are certainly worth admiring - a black oak and a chinkapin oak. The black oak can be easily found on the east side of the park, along the paved path coming from W Madison Street. It is believed to be 200-300 years old. The tree has been treated in recent years in hopes to improve its health. The champion chinkapin oak is near the southwest corner of the park and is surrounded by an unmowed area. The city takes measures to monitor the trees' health to support their longevity. Park visitors are encouraged to visit the trees but should take caution and not engage in activities that could lead to damage or disease, such as hanging from low branches. ​

Gardens

The park is home to several gardens that are maintained by volunteers. These gardens contain native species such as wild strawberry, common milkweed, columbine, and yarrow. These native species provide habitat for wildlife and insects, especially our local pollinators. Visit this Natural Area Preservation webpage for more information about the services that native plant species provide to our ecosystem and how to incorporate them into your own garden.

The park is also home to several fruit trees including plum and peach trees, which can be found near the W Mosely Street park entrance. The trees were planted in 2008. As of 2021, most of the fruit trees are not producing fruit, as they require regular pruning and other care to ensure that they flower and produce. Volunteers and staff have been making efforts to restore them.


Natural Area

There is a narrow wooded area on the west side of Wurster Park that creates a buffer between the park and some of the neighbors, and is also home to the champion chinkapin oak. Many native wildflowers can be found here including trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit. Volunteers and staff perform annual stewardship of the non-native invasive plant species that can also be found in the wooded area, such as English ivy and euonymus. Email Natural Area Preservation​ if you would like to learn more about the natural area in Wurster Park. Read more about Wurster and its park adopters/stewards in this 2011 Natural Area Preservation newsletter: 2011 Park Focus: Wurster Park, by Erin Dreps.


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Volunteer​​

There are ongoing and limitless opportunities for volunteering and getting engaged with the Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Services Unit. Natural Area Preservation has volunteer opportunities that support their mission to protect and restore Ann Arbor's natural areas and to foster an environmental ethic among its citizens.  GIVE 365 and the seasonal Adopt-a-Park Program offer volunteer opportunities in the mowed park areas. 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.​

Re​port a Problem - A2 Fix It​

To report maintenance issues, or other problem during your park visit, please report through A2Fix It.  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.​ For special projects ideas in natural areas, Natural Area Preservation​ staff will guide you and provide project guidelines unique to natural areas.​​​​

In summer of 2021, a new informational kiosk was added to the park, located adjacent to the playground. The kiosk was an idea generated by several park neighbors and proposed to the city as a special project through Adopt-a-Park​. Some of the materials and the time to construct the kiosk were​ donated by a park neighbor and volunteer. Visit the park to check out this great addition! Information about the park's features and upcoming volunteer opportunities will be added to the kiosk periodically by volunteers and staff.
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​Park History

​​Ernst M. Wurster

​The park's namesake, Ernst M. Wurster, was a prominent figure in Ann Arbor in the early 1900s. He was born on September 21, 1873 and lived in the city his entire life. 

Wurster was elected to the board of supervisors as a member of Ward 1 in 1913 and again in 1914.  In 1915, he was elected as the president of City Council and became the acting mayor after the death of the Mayor C.A. Sauer in 1915. He was officially elected as mayor in 1917 and reelected in 1919. Wurster was elected as sheriff in 1926 and spent two years in this role. He was appointed to his last public office, city treasurer, by then mayor W. Staebler. 

After his time in public service roles, Wurster was employed by the state highway department as a highway inspector.  He also operated an army supply store at 217 N. Fourth Avenue. The second floor of the building was used as a temporary county jail while the official building was under construction. Wurster was also active in the Ann Arbor Rotary Club after its establishment in 1917. He passed on January 2, 1937 at the age of 63. View his obituary here.

​​​​Land Acquisition

 

The acquisition of the land that now forms Wurster Park spanned several decades, as private lots were donated to or purchased by the city. The property began as a gravel pit at the end of Fourth Street and in 1948 the city identified it as a spot to be graded for a "coasting hill". In 1955, the property was officially named Wurster Park. In 1957, the city purchased six lots on the east side of the park from Henrietta Wurster (Ernst Wurster's sister) for $5,000. Throughout the next two decades, the city purchased or received donations of several lots that make ​ up the Wurster Park property that we have today. View this map​ to see placement of lots.

​Active Adopters

​​​​Wurster Park has many engaged neighbors and volunteers that have formed a valuable partnership with the city to ensure the health and beauty of the park and its amenities. These dedicated volunteers work with Natural Area Preservation and Adopt-a-Park to create a workplan annually, coordinate projects and to plan volunteer workdays throughout the year. Volunteers tend to the gardens and natural areas by weeding invasive plants, adding more variety and more. The volunteers and neighbors also advocate for improvements by reporting areas that need attention by staff.  Contact Adopt-a-Park if you would like to learn more about the volunteer activities at Wurster Park and to learn about how you can be involved.​

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Updated June 2021. Email [email protected] for incorrect/outdated information.