The Community Advisory Team Helps Guide the Vision
As the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy works toward achieving our bridge-to-bridge vision, we have turned our attention to a 22-acre riverfront parcel just west of Downtown Detroit that was formerly the site of a newspaper printing facility. It’s a beautiful site with nearly a half-mile of riverfront at the intersection Mexicantown, Corktown and Southwest Detroit.
We set out to build the best park in the country for Detroit by building the best park in the country for Detroiters. We believe that Detroit’s new park must grow out of the hopes and dreams Detroiters have for their families, their many communities, and for this special space.
Our goal was simple: to understand the real needs and desires of the community. So, we built a Community Advisory Team of Detroiters deeply in touch with their communities and eager to elevate voices that are rarely heard in city planning meetings.
The team we assembled surpassed our expectations and reflects the diversity of Detroit: 62 percent women; 48 percent African-American; 29 percent Latino; 30 percent under age 18 or over 60; and 20 percent individuals with school-aged children.
Before we asked Detroiters to dream about our park with us, we wanted to help them learn from other cities that have recently invested in their own public spaces. We packed this group into airplanes and took them all over the country to visit great parks in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
This report contains a snapshot or what we saw and what we learned during our benchmarking field trips. This work and our ongoing community engagement work will guide our design team and make us a stronger community.
What we saw and what we learned on these trips was inspiring. And, it will help us bring a world-class park to Detroit and to Detroiters.
Mark C. Wallace
President and CEO