Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park Frequently ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. How big is the park?

    • The park is 22 acres, it is south of Jefferson between 8th Street and Rosa Parks Boulevard.
  2. When did the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy acquire the property?

    • The Conservancy purchased the property from the Detroit Free Press in 2007 and demolished the building that was on it later that year.  In 2013, the Conservancy opened the property to the public. Amenities at Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park include an extra-wide extension of the RiverWalk, pathways from Jefferson Avenue that lead to the water’s edge, benches, trash receptacles and security cameras/call boxes.
  3. What events are held at West Riverfront Park?

    • The park has been the site for several large concerts, such as Jimmy Buffett, Downtown Hoedown, Kem and MoPop, which is in its third year at the park.Additional events hosted by the Conservancy at the park include Touch-A-Truck, Riverfront Relaxin’ and Movies, Latino Festival, Moonlight Yoga and more.
  4. What was the process for creating the Community Advisory Team (CAT)?

    • In June 2017, the Conservancy requested nominations for a Community Advisory Team, a group of Detroit residents intrigued by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park project and interested in serving as ambassadors for their respective communities. DRCF staff selected the 21-member from a pool of approixmately 100 appicants, building  a diverse group of reflecrtive of the melting pot experience of the completed West Riverfront Park.
    • Over the course of the summer, the Community Advisory Team visited 14 parks across Philidelphia, Chicago and New York City, reporting back to the Conservancy which elements of park design they would (and would not) like to see incorporated into a transformed West Riverfront Park. The Community Advisory Team continues playing an active role in the design process. The Conservancy encourages public dialogue with the team througout the entire park design and build process. 
  5. What was the process for selecting the winning design firm?

    • The Conservancy issued an RFQ to design firms throughout the world in early 2017.There were 22 firms that responded by the July 19 deadline.The 22 firms were then shortlisted to eight.Those firms were invited to Detroit on February 8 & 9 for public interviews.Four finalist firms were then invited to develop a concept for the park.These four designers submitted concepts by January 16, 2018 and presented to the public and the jury on February 8.
    • The jury selected Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and introduced the firm to the public on April 10.  The team includes: David Adjaye Associated, Utile, Mobility in Chain, LimnoTech, NTH, PEA, Emmannuel Pratt, HR&A, Wksps and Monstrum.
  6. What are some of the elements of the conceptual park design?

    • The current design includes a play area for children; a cove which provides a beach for water activities such as swimming, kayaking and ice skating; a sports house – for basketball and other activities; a grassy pavilion for performances and events; a park house that will house the security operations, and, a café, public restrooms and maintenance storage area.
  7. What are the plans for parking?

    • The current site plan allows for angled parking the full length of the park along Jefferson Avenue.
  8. Will Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park have an opening/closing time?

    • All parks within the City of Detroit open at 6 a.m. and close at 10 p.m.
  9. Estimated costs? Who will pay for maintenance and upkeep of the park?

    • We are currently talking with potential funding sources and are fundraising for the park if you would like to donate to the project or to the Conservancy, click here.
  10. Will Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park be accessible from the east along the RiverWalk?

    • Yes, the Conservancy is in discussions with three private property owners just east of Joe Louis Arena to extend the RiverWalk across their properties so that the RiverWalk is continuous from Gabriel Richard Park to West Riverfront Park.
  11. Will Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park Park be pet-friendly?

    • Dogs that are under control and leashed at all times will be allowed in the park.
  12. When will the park be open?

    • The grand opening for the park is forecasted for 2023.

For more information or to request a group presentation about Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park, please E-mail westriverfrontpark@detroitriverfront.org.