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If you’re on Interstate 94 driving through Allen Park, perhaps to Detroit, or headed for the region’s main airport, you’ll likely be unable to miss the Uniroyal Giant Tire, the world’s largest model tire. And while the tire is certainly noteworthy, the city of Allen Park has more to offer you than a roadside curiosity.
Located in the area colloquially known as “Downriver,” Allen Park is a built-out community of approximately 27,000 people that came of age in the post-war boom of suburban housing as families began to desire their own spaces. The homes reflect the era – they tend to run from 1,000 to 1,200 square feet and feature three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The typical plots of land are tidy, with postage-stamp front yards and backyards for a pool and frolicking. Allen Park is divided so that most of the residential zones are together, with pieces on the north side available for commercial and industrial properties; the effect is one large neighborhood. With the old oak trees gently swaying in summer breezes, the warm months make for excellent walking weather.
The warm months also bring a Farmer’s Market and a Street Fair to Allen Park. The market features fresh food from local businesses every Friday between June and October, while the Street Fair happens every summer and features wares and shows from the city’s residents.
For consistent outdoor fun, you can take advantage of the city’s park system; Allen Park boasts 23, well, parks. Hit some tennis balls, stroll on walking tracks, channel your inner Steve Yzerman and play some hockey, or enjoy some 3-on-3 basketball with your friends. And if you’re not up for outdoor fun, head inside to the fitness center for some yoga, or take your skates to the ice arena for some triple axels.
When it’s time for learning, the Allen Park Public Schools (“A focal point of the community,” in the district’s words) are there for your children. The District responds to a community need for early childhood education and child care to meet the needs of working parents by providing before- and after-school child care (latchkey), a preschool program, extended care, and summer day camp.
And then there’s that tire. The largest non-production tire scale model ever built, the Uniroyal Giant Tire was created by the Uniroyal Tire Company for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, where it entertained thousands of fair-goers as a Ferris wheel. (The same firm that designed the Empire State Building designed the tire.) The tire is 80 feet tall, was built to withstand hurricane-force winds, and is fireproof. Its location is near a former Uniroyal sales office; when the sales office moved, the tire stayed put. The tire is representative of Detroit’s industrial power and auto industry heritage. Allen Park, with its tight-knit collection of post-war neighborhoods, is, in its own way, also representative of that power and heritage. Give Allen Park a look. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to tell your friends you live in the same city as the world’s largest tire?