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Hazel Park is a city in Oakland County of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 16,422. Hazel Park was incorporated in 1941 and bills itself as "The Friendly City".
In October 1882, a group of farmers gathered in a home located at the present-day city hall and had a meeting, requesting for a school to be built. A one-room school was eventually built in 1883 and later expanded to two rooms. In 1884, John W. Benjamine petitioned the state of Michigan to form a school district out of Royal Oak Township. Benjamine, who was Royal Oak Township's School Inspector, decided to name it Hazel Park School District 8, after the surplus amount of Hazelnut bushes in the area.
In 1920, another building, the Thomas W. Lacey School, was built on present-day Woodruff Street. The original Hazel Park school was sold to Frank Neusius, who used it to open a barber shop and a grocery market. The rapid increase in school children caused the nascent school district to add four grade schools and build a larger building at the central location also called the Lacey School, which became the community focal point for its high school students. The continued population growth of the community led to the construction of Hazel Park High School, so the old high school became Lacey Junior High School, located at John R and Nine Mile Roads.
Hazel Park experienced significant growth as the Ford Motor Company, based in nearby Highland Park, began to expand. Hospitals, offices and shops began to thrive around the area of 9 Mile Road. The electric Stephenson Line was a convenient way for commuters to trolley to Highland Park and Detroit. In 1924, Hazel Park's first traffic light, post office and Deputy Sheriff's office were established. The city was incorporated in 1941.
During the 1930s and 1940s, there were many rallies and community events involving and eventually leading to the revitalization of the city. After the city's incorporation, running water was provided to all areas.
In 1942, the Elias Brothers, John, Fred and Louis Elias, established a diner in Hazel Park. This diner, the Dixie Drive-In, was one of the first in the Midwest to offer curbside services. In 1952, the diner was franchised as a Big Boy restaurant; Louis Elias went on to run for Mayor of Hazel Park, and was in office from 1953 to 1961. The Elias brothers continued to establish Big Boy restaurants throughout the Metro Detroit area until finally purchasing the franchiser in 1983.
The clean-up of the city paved the way for the return of thousands of soldiers from World War II. Housing demand was very high in the area, causing a boom in construction. Many of the bungalows in the city were built just shortly after the war.
Hazel Park Raceway opened in 1949. It is currently the only track in Michigan offering live thoroughbred racing.
The Interstate 75 (I-75) freeway was fully completed through Hazel Park in 1966. The area where it is now was Stephenson Highway, which has a current purpose as a service drive. Similarly, I-696 was constructed through the neighboring city of Madison Heights in 1979, joing the two freeways and creating a busy junction with I-75, part of which extends into Hazel Park's northend.
Hazel Park is exclusive to a few select types of architecture, although numerous styles can be seen in various houses. Many of the city's homes were built in the Cape Cod bungalow style, shortly after World War Two, and have a second story encompassed in the home's roofing.
Michigan bungalows are also common in the city. These houses were originally built during the 1920s and 1930s by the city's original settlers and can often be found near the downtown area.
Ranch houses are very common in the city as well. Most of these houses were built in the northern neighborhoods during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Older ranch houses were often built with aluminum siding, whereas newer ones, such as the ones built in the Courts, were built in brick or stone.
Front split-level and side split-level houses are not common in the city. However, back split houses - split-levels with the second story built into the back - are common in the southern portion of the city near the 8 Mile border. This style of home is often the result of additions often built onto one-story bungalows and ranch houses.
Colonial houses are uncommon in the city, but many are scattered throughout different neighborhoods. These houses are often built in brick and usually resemble urban Tudor houses. Some are built in stone, often more common north of 9 Mile Road. Others are built in the Traditional Tudor style.
New development homes are extremely common in the city. They can be seen on many blocks of Hazel Park, and often range from two-story snout houses to detached single-family brownstones. Many of these houses are built in the Neo-eclectic style.
There are multiple distinguishable residential areas in the city of Hazel Park. Residential areas make up the majority of the city and are in most cases located in sub-divisions located off of main roads. The city of Hazel Park was originally laid out in a grid from 1900 to 1925, which consisted of horizontal streets which ran from Dequindre Road to Hilton Road on the western edge of the city (now Ferndale); and vertical streets which ran from Nine Mile Road to Woodward Heights Boulevard.
This grid is mostly retained in modern-day Hazel Park neighborhoods, but has had significant modifications. Dead-end streets became increasingly common in the northeast area of the city after the construction of Karam Park and Longfellow Elementary school, which cut off primarily the streets stemming off of Vassar Avenue north of Woodward Heights Boulevard. Multiple other facilities have contributed to creating dead-end streets, including Webster Elementary, Ford Elementary and Saint Justin's Catholic Church.
The business districts in the city of Hazel Park are mostly focused around its main thoroughfares. Hazel Park's central business district has traditionally been centered at the intersection of John R. Road and Nine Mile Road. Hazel Park's traditional central business district contains the city's municipal buildings, two shopping centers and a high rise apartment complex. The first Harmony House music store opened in Hazel Park's Central Business District in 1947.
John R. Road serves as Hazel Park's main small business thoroughfare, with the majority of the road zoned for local business use. Small shopping centers, office parks and sidewalk stores are characteristic of the John R. corridor through Hazel Park. Nine Mile Road boasts a more suburban assortment of businesses, many of which are restaurants, churches and slightly larger shopping centers. Eight Mile Road, Dequindre Road, and Ten Mile Road are also well traveled industry related thoroughfares in the city of Hazel Park.
Hazel Park utilizes the Council-Manager form of government, and thus is governed by a City Council consisting of a Mayor and four council members. The city council appoints a City Manager, who manages the day-to-day operations of the city. The current mayor of Hazel Park is Michael Webb, who succeeded Jeffrey Keeton, who served as mayor pro tempore until the resignation of former mayor Jan Parisi, in December 2016. Jan Parisi, the city’s first female mayor, stepped down due to health-and family-related reasons. Jan Parisi had replaced Jack Lloyd on June 17, 2014. The current city manager is Edward Klobucher. City government is located on the same block as the public library, police station and post office, at 9 Mile Road and John R. Road.
The crime rate in Hazel Park is low. The crime rate in the city in 2003 was 83.5% of the national average. In 2008, Larceny theft made up 43.8% of the city's crime. The violent crime rate has gone down 57% in 2008 from what it was in 2000. In contrast, the property crime rate rose 4.6% in the same time period. Specifically, the decrease has been in forcible rape and robbery crimes; and a slight increase in burglary and arson.
Hazel Park has the sixth-highest car theft rate in the state, and the 52nd-highest in the country. Vehicles built before 1992 are common targets, along with the more obvious including expensive vehicles, luxury SUVs and minivans.
Crime is regulated by the Hazel Park Police Department, a force of 42 full-time police officers. The department has auxiliary policing and neighborhood watch programs available to citizens ages 21 and over. The police department offers programs such as gun lock giveaways, house watch programs, and programs to put a child up for adoption in case the parent is not capable of raising the child.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.82 square miles (7.30 km2), all land. The city is bound by 10 Mile Road to the north, Dequindre Road to the east, 8 Mile Road to the south, and West End Street, Pilgrim Avenue, and Lenox Street to the west.
The median income for a household in the city in 2008 was $40,403, and the median income for a family was $49,448. The per capita income for the city was $19,390. About 10.0% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.0% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.
Excluding one neighborhood in particular with a majority elderly population, the city's median household income in 2009 was $46,687, surpassing the neighboring communities of Warren, Madison Heights and Ferndale as well as many communities in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. With this non-inclusive income, Hazel Park's median household income would be higher than 39.7% of the metro area, including 16.1% of Oakland cities, 61.5% of Macomb cities, and 55.8% of Wayne cities.
As of the census of 2010, there were 16,422 people, 6,641 households, and 3,999 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,823.4 inhabitants per square mile (2,248.4/km2). There were 7,611 housing units at an average density of 2,698.9 per square mile (1,042.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.8% White, 6.8% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.
There were 6,641 households of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.7% were married couples living together, 18.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.8% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.13.
The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.5% were from 25 to 44; 25.6% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.4% male and 50.6% female.
In 2000, there were 7,284 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.
73.1% of all households in Hazel Park were family households. 20.9% of all households were married couple families with children. 10.6% were single-mother families.
The census reported the city as 81.1% White, 9.7% African American, 0.90% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.90% from other races, and 4.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.
The top reported ancestries in the city were German (18.6%), Irish (14.8%), Polish (10.3%), English (9.7%), French (6.0%) and Italian (4.1%) Italian. Other prominent ancestries include French Canadian (3.6%), Scottish (3%), Arab (2.5%) and Dutch (1.6%). The city has the second largest proportion of Native American residents in Oakland County, only topped by Keego Harbor.
In 2000, 7.2% of Hazel Park citizens were foreign born. 9.7% reported speaking a language other than English.
As of the 2000 Census, the median income for a household in the city was $37,045, and the median income for a family was $43,584. Males had a median income of $33,063 versus $24,362 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,723.
The city is served by the Hazel Park School District, which has some establishments in Ferndale, a neighboring city. There are three elementary schools operating in the city of Hazel Park.
The northern portion of the city is served by Webb Elementary, while the southern portion is served by United Oaks Elementary and Hoover Elementary. Multiple other elementary schools once operated in the city, including Roosevelt, Lee O. Clark, Longfellow, Henry Ford, Webster, and Edison Elementaries. Webster was closed as an elementary school at the end of the 2014 school year, but remains open for the Preschool program. Lee O. Clark has since been demolished, and Henry Ford has been converted into the School District Administration Building. Henry Ford also serves as an alternative education facility for students K-8 called Advantage, and a program called Breakfast Club for high school students. There is one high school and one middle school operating in Hazel Park. Hazel Park has followed a recent trend in Metro Detroit suburbs by the consolidation of its middle schools. Formerly, two separate schools, Webb Junior High and Beecher Middle School, operated in the city. Webb was converted to an elementary school in 2004, and Beecher was torn down and re-built, commissioned as Hazel Park Junior High.
High schools in Hazel Park began with the construction of Lacey High School in 1920 and Hazel Park High School in 1929. Lacey High was demolished in the early 1960s, and the Hazel Park High School was re-commissioned as Howard Beecher Junior High. After these changes, a new high school was built in the eastern portion of the city, taking the name of Hazel Park High School.
Jardon Vocational School is also in operation in order to separate special needs students from the mainstream curriculum and serves as a high school. The school operates mainly in the Hazel Park-Ferndale-Pleasant Ridge area, but also serves the rest of Oakland County, especially the south east.
The high school had an average score of 10.3 on the state's MEAP test in 2011. This was one of the lowest scores in Oakland County.
The city has a local branch of Baker College, an institution of higher education.
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