Dragon themed pocket park located in Lake Orion, MI
Birdseye view of the new dragon themed pocket park located on Baldwin Road in Lake Orion, MI
Birdseye view of the new dragon themed pocket park alongside Baldwin Road in Lake Orion, MI

Jordan Road Dragon Playground


Orion Township


Orion Township / Oakland County, MI

Community-Inspired Pocket Park Brings Residents Together in a Signature Space

Following a related corridor improvement project, Orion Township acquired property at Baldwin and Jordan Roads from the Road Commission for Oakland County and determined through extensive public input that the area would be developed as a public park and recreation space for the community. The Township again reached out to OHM Advisors—this time to create a signature pocket park for residents to enjoy.

The Township was inspired by their school's mascot, the Lake Orion Dragons, and their community's 200-year-old “Legend of the Dragon” tale for a park playground theme. With our team’s assistance, the Township was able to secure partial funding for a large sculptural dragon play structure through a KABOOM! grant program. Once funding was secured, our team also assisted through the design development and final engineering process with playground manufacturers, securing discounts through cooperative purchasing agreements, value engineering, working with one of the Township’s general contractors to coordinate its in-kind services, and guiding the project through construction administration.

Our design team developed the conceptual design for the dragon structure as the park’s central thematic element. We creatively incorporated climbing, crawling, sliding and vantage points into the dragon figure and proposed the additional elements of "Lava" balance pieces and "Burnt Forest" logs to diversify play components and strengthen the dragon theme. Advanced Placement arts students at Lake Orion High School created an accompanying storybook signage series that surrounds the dragon. The rest of the park was designed with mounding, plantings, furnishings and fencing to create a sense of place and enhance the park experience. The large dragon head play sculpture is visible from Baldwin Road—a main thoroughfare into the Township—and will serve as an entry branding element for the community as well as a place to gather and play.

Project highlights: site design, landscape architecture, custom playground structure conceptual design, playground manufacturer coordination, value engineering, construction observation