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  • Kevin Elliott

Innovation Hills Park improvement donation

Plans for a series of waterfalls and ponds that will flow through a portion of Innovation Hills Park in Rochester Hills will soon be underway with the assistance of a donation from the Modetz family.

The contribution from local philanthropists John and Mary Modetz, who own and operate Modetz Funeral Homes, will be used to build one of the first features of the park: a waterfall at the entrance of the park. The waterfall will serve as the focal point and first impression guiding guests to the central pond.

A series of six ponds and waterfalls, flowing under two walkways, will serve as a bioswale and recreational experience at the same time, allowing people to watch, listen and touch the moving water as the enter Innovation Hills, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said.

"We are so grateful for community leaders like the Modetz family who have so generously supported this new park," he said.

The donation is one of several contributions the family has made to the greater Rochester-area. The family has provided major funding for the development of pocket parks in Rochester, assisted the Boy Scouts, Rochester College and Ascension Crittenton Hospital.

"This donation for Innovation Hills is an investment in our community's future," Mary Modetz said. "People from all over southeast Michigan will enjoy a recreational experience unlike any other and our family wanted to be part of this legacy."

Formerly called Riverbend Park, the 100-plus-acre park at 2800 W. Hamlin Road was renamed Innovation Hills, with plans to develop the park as the largest outdoor classroom in the region, with a variety of hands-on educational opportunities to promote learning and long term appreciation of nature. The park includes undeveloped woodlands, wetland and prairie habitat, and trails and boardwalks with views of the Clinton River. Development of the park is being undertaken through a mix of public and private funding, with several phases relying on charitable contributions.

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