Novi Pavilion Shore Park

Community: City of Novi
Population: 10,000+

An 11-acre property on the southern shoreline of Walled Lake was once a busy amusement park and casino from the 1920s-1960s, but laid vacant for decades before the City of Novi began plans in 2010 to make it a usable public park. Using public input sessions and holding an online community vote for the name in 2012, Pavilion Shore Park was born. The park now consists of walking paths, a fishing pier, Fate of Empires sculpture, a picnic plaza, parking and waterfront seating. The picnic structure is also shaped and colored as an ode to the casino structure that burned down on Christmas 1965. Pavilion Shore Park hosts the popular Pour on the Shore craft beer and wine tasting fundraiser each July, where 500 people shuttle to the park or pull up their boats lakeside to enjoy food, drink, live music and each other’s company.


Developing Pavilion Shore Park was largely a landscaping project at first glance, so laying out grass sod and pathways was the easy part. Consolidating a massive amount of public input with grant requirements, handling uncovered buried ruins from the previous amusement park tenant and creating a usable space with a fishing pier, shelter and other amenities required more attention that brought out several unique facets about the project and park in general.

Creativity and Originality:

Both the name of Pavilion Shore Park and much of the design was put in the hands of residents via surveys and public input sessions. One specifically-targeted characteristic was a tie-in to the historic amusement park and casino that were popular on the site through the 1920s-1960s. With that in mind, the shelter was designed similar to the old casino that had burned down in 1965. The park is also home of Fate of Empires, a five-piece sculpture by renowned artist David Barr that was designed as a reflection of the property’s history. Additionally, the series of pathways throughout the park crisscross into arched “V” shapes, creating unique intersections and aerial images when viewed on maps.

Community Impact:

Pavilion Shore Park is a point of pride with Novi residents, especially those who reside on the northern end of town and near Walled Lake. It provides an open lakeside space that hosts outdoor fitness classes, fundraisers, break sites for 5K races and a quiet place for residents to stroll along for a walk or bike ride. The collaborative effort between the city and local residents is regularly referenced by community members from the surrounding neighborhoods as a source of faith in their municipal government when planning for future projects.

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