Welcome to Lake Norcentra Park

Located on the campus of Rochester University, Lake Norcentra Park is a peaceful setting of towering trees, scenic bluffs, a small lake, and a pond. A favorite spot for the campus community since the university opened in 1959, the park and adjoining estate house were formerly owned by Detroit advertising executive Lou Maxon. The park’s natural beauty and intriguing history make it a memorable place for the campus community and visitors alike.

A Gem on the Clinton River Trail

Most people in the Rochester region did not know about Lake Norcentra Park until the Clinton River Trail opened in 2005. During warm weather, thousands of bicyclists, runners, and walkers pass by the park every day on the popular trail. In recent years, the university has opened the park to the community and visitors from the Clinton River Trail. Come and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Lake Norcentra Park!


Illustration of Master Plan

Rochester University hosted a two-day design charrette in 2014 to generate a conceptual plan for Lake Norcentra Park. Representatives of several community organizations participated in the event, which resulted in the development of a master plan for the park. Realization of the plan is a multi-year process taking place as volunteers and funding become available.

 2015 Accomplishments

  • Park design element refinement (Team-4-Community)
  • Overgrowth clearing for picnic area and other park clean-up projects (Lake Norcentra Park Volunteer Day)
  • Stairway repairs and painting projects (student volunteers)
  • Pump house door construction and tree trimming (Rochester Church of Christ Project One 22 volunteers)
  • Benches and picnic tables (Home Depot and Good Karma Club volunteers)
  • Riverfront Clean-up (Clinton River Watershed Council volunteers)
  • Light pole banners

2016 Accomplishments

  • Park spring clean-up and landscaping (Lake Norcentra Park Volunteer Day)
  • Painting of Warrior Center for picnic area (Elevate summer camp volunteers)
  • Removal of 35 dead and dying trees (Gresham Seasonal Services)
  • Picnic area landscaping (Rochester Church of Christ Project One 22 volunteers)
  • Pathways to Clinton River Trail (Wolverine Construction volunteers and City of Rochester Hills)
  • Entrance signs from Clinton River Trail (City of Rochester Hills)
  • Contest for mural on Clinton River Trail (sponsored by Chief Financial Credit Union)
  • Picnic area landscaping and mural site preparations (Rochester Church of Christ Project One 22 volunteers)
  • Defined picnic area food trucks and Yates Cider booth
  • Patronicity campaign to fund park improvements
  • Rochester Community Mural painting launch (community volunteers)

2017 Accomplishments

  • Photo of MuralCompletion of Rochester Community Mural painting process (community volunteers)
  • Blocking of gym windows in preparation for Rochester Community Mural installation (masons provided by Wolverine Construction)
  • Bicycle rack and bicycle repair station installation at picnic area entrance (funded by Brooksie Way mini-grant)
  • Park spring clean-up and landscaping (Lake Norcentra Park Volunteer Day)
  • Painting of park benches, picnic tables, and bridge (Lake Norcentra Park Volunteer Day)
  • Painting of picnic tables and mural site clean-up (Rochester Church of Christ Project One 22 volunteers)
  • Installation of new LED lighting throughout park (Shoreview Electric)
  • Photo of Fountain in lakeInstallation of fountains and aerators in Lake Norcentra (JC Living Waters)
  • Removal of fallen trees from Lake Norcentra’s south bluff (Gresham Seasonal Services)
  • Installation of Rochester Community Mural (sponsored by Chief Financial Credit Union)
  • Lakefront and mural site final clean-up (Elevate summer camp volunteers)
  • Painting of maintenance shop (Elevate summer camp volunteers)
  • Warrior Center and Gallaher stairway landscaping (Kent Piatt)
  • Wayfinding and historical signage (Display mix)
  • Foundation for deck overlooking Lake Norcentra (Rochester Church of Christ Project One 22 volunteers)

2018 Accomplishments

  • Dredging of area between Lake Norcentra and pond
  • Installation of two gazebos
  • Completion of deck overlooking Lake Norcentra
  • Park spring clean-up (Lake Norcentra Park Volunteer Day)
  • Lakefront and mural site clean-up (Elevate summer camp volunteers)
  • Reconstruction of Gallaher patio overlooking Lake Norcentra

2019 Major Projects

  • Removal of maintenance shop
  • Park spring clean-up (Lake Norcentra Park Volunteer Day)
  • Construction of Slater-Montgomery Family Chapel on maintenance shop site (open-air structure)

Long-term Project

  • Amphitheatre on lake edge near Gallaher Center


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Individual and Group Opportunities

Volunteer »

Volunteers play an integral role in Lake Norcentra Park improvement efforts. Both individuals and groups are encouraged to assist with such special projects as:

  • Trimming Trees and Bushes
  • Painting Park Furniture and Park Buildings
  • Landscaping
  • Park Cleanup
  • Small Carpentry Projects

Lake Norcentra Volunteer Day

Each spring, the Alumni Association sponsors its annual park volunteer day. Over the past several years, alumni, students, and community friends have focused on spring cleanup efforts in the park and have completed a number of special projects. A registration site for the volunteer day is made available in the spring and the event is held on a Saturday in May.


Park Improvement Fund

Your gifts to Lake Norcentra Park provide funding for continued park improvements. Your gifts are tax deductible and make it possible for others to enjoy an even better environment in Lake Norcentra Park. Please consider providing support for the park improvement fund. Donate »

Park Enhancements with Naming Potential

Major enhancements are planned for Lake Norcentra Park. When you sponsor one of these projects, you establish a legacy and make your own mark on the park and the Rochester community.

For more information about these projects and possible naming options, contact Larry Stewart at lstewart@rc.edu.

  • Event Structure: This open-air structure is under construction on the site of the former maintenance building. Formed by beams resembling a chapel, this beautiful structure will be ideal for larger gatherings like concerts, theatre, and weddings. Naming rights have been finalized and the remaining fund-raising is in progress.
  • Amphitheater. This four-tier stone structure is planned for the lake edge near Gallaher Center. Located in one of the favorite areas for viewing Lake Norcentra, the amphitheater will be ideal for small gatherings like concerts, theatre, weddings, and outdoor classes.


Contact & Tours

For park information or tours, fill out the form below and we will contact you within one business day. You are also welcome to contact park coordinator Larry Stewart at lstewart@rc.edu or 248-218-2023.

Lake Norcentra Park hosts strolling tours. Larry Stewart will guide you on a leisurely stroll around the lake, telling the story of Lake Norcentra Park. You will have an opportunity to ask questions. Indicate below if you would like to participate in a tour.