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Issue 2 • Fall 2017



he Detroit RiverFront

including seniors, high school students


Conservancy continues

and parents – to help us identify

Detroit on

to make tremendous

what the public would love to see

October 21.

progress on an ambitious

in this park.

I hope you can

East Riverfront Frame-

work Plan. Atwater Beach will break ground in 2018, along with the

This fall, four internationally-renowned design firms are currently developing

join us for this fun event.

concepts for the future of this

As always, our success depends on

important place. In early February,

your support. Thank you for helping us

we will unveil these plans to the public

transform the Detroit Riverfront into a

While the East Riverfront continues to

and select a firm to help us design

world-class destination for all.

evolve, the entire Detroit community

West Riverfront Park.

Uniroyal Promenade and the Joseph Campau Greenway.

is buzzing about the future of West Riverfront Park.

Mark Wallace

As the bright colors of summer are

President & CEO

replaced with the soft light of fall, we

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

The Conservancy has begun convening

are excited to launch the Dequindre

groups of community members –

Cut Freight Yard during our third annual


SOIRÉE ON THE GREENWAY 2017 Art, food, drinks and music. More than 500 active professionals from all over metro Detroit celebrated summer on a cool August evening at this year’s Soirée on the Greenway. For the sixth year, Riviere28 hosted its popular urban garden party on the Dequindre Cut. This year, the event took place along the greenway near the Campbell Terrace. The August 24 fundraising event featured food trucks, a wide selection of drinks and musical entertainment. Beyond the food and music, Soirée guests enjoyed watching local artist WC Bevan create the Dequindre Cut’s newest mural. We’re already looking forward to next year! To find out more about sponsorship or partnership opportunities, call (313) 566-8226.

T H ANKS FO R THE FUN! Riviere28 and the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy would like to thank the businesses and organizations that made this year’s Soirée on the Greenway possible. SPONSORS • Honigman • Kitch Attorneys and Counselors • City Living Detroit • Detroit Foundation Hotel PARTNERS • Atwater Brewery • Brut Detroit Neighborhood Wine Bar • United States Bartenders’ Guild Detroit Chapter • Wheelhouse Detroit



“David loved the arts and music and people…and he loved the Dequindre Cut,” said Marc Pasco, director of communications at the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “Building the Campbell Terrace in his name is a fitting way to honor a tremendous individual who did so much for this community.”


The impromptu performances continued in summer 2017, but the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy got into the act by scheduling an eclectic mix of free programming as part of the Campbell Terrace Performance Series. From children’s theater and indie rock to R&B, hip hop and jazz, the venue showcased many of metro Detroit’s most talented entertainers this summer.

The Terrace was commissioned by a $1 million gift from the McGregor Fund to honor the legacy of David Campbell, its former president who passed away in 2014. Campbell was also a founding member of the Conservancy’s board, as well as an avid supporter of arts and culture.



The small-scale outdoor performance venue features a covered stage, tiered concrete walls for seating and lush landscaping. “We built the space, and we’re thrilled that the community is bringing the show,” Wallace said.


“The Campbell Terrace is a beautiful venue that was designed to be a platform for performers throughout the community,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.

Scheduled performances continued into fall with a steel pan performance that was held on September 10 and a street dancing exposition on September 24. The Campbell Terrace and the Dequindre Cut will also be the site of Harvestfest Detroit on October 21 from Noon to 4 p.m., a family-friendly celebration with trick-or-treating, hay rides, free pumpkins, movies, musical performances and arts and crafts. This is the third year for the event. Last year more than 1,000 people attended Harvestfest Detroit.


When the Campbell Terrace opened along the Dequindre Cut in fall 2016, it quickly became a popular destination for impromptu performances. Musicians, dancers and poets seemed drawn to the intimate outdoor performance space.




The Campbell Terrace is located at the base of the Lafayette Street ramp to the Dequindre Cut between Orleans and St. Aubin Streets. Parking is available along several side streets in the area.

To find out more about becoming a performer, call (313) 566-8234. 3


“There’s no better place to enjoy a cool fall day than on the Detroit Riverfront.” You don’t need to go to a cider mill to enjoy a crisp fall day in

providing children a safe place to trickor-treat and enjoy the outdoors. (free)

front is the center of outdoor

When: Saturday, Oct. 21 from noon to 4 p.m.

activity in Detroit, and there’s

Where: Dequindre Cut

Michigan. The Detroit River-

always something to do. Explore Harvestfest Detroit. Rent a bike. Walk the dog. Catch a concert. Visiting the riverfront is becoming Detroit’s newest fall tradition. HARVESTFEST DETROIT 2017 Harvestfest Detroit is a family-friendly celebration of all things fall. Visit the Dequindre Cut for trick-or-treating, hay rides, free pumpkins, movies, musical performances and arts and crafts. And don’t forget to wear your costume! This popular annual event draws hundreds of kids and families –

THE PACK WALK Detroit’s RiverWalk is going to the dogs…at least on Sunday mornings this fall. The Pack Walk with Canine to Five gives you and your dog a chance to socialize with other dogs and people. Meet other Detroit area dog lovers and feed your dog’s instinct for pack structure and roaming. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water for you and your dog. The Pack Walk starts at the Rivard Plaza concession stand. (free). When: Sundays at 10:30 a.m. through November 5 Where: Start at Rivard Plaza


DIA INSIDE | OUT PROGRAM Enjoy reproductions of some of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ most famous paintings in a beautiful outdoor setting along the Detroit Riverfront. (free). When: Every day Where: Detroit Riverfront between Milliken State Park and Mt. Elliott Park DETROIT EXPERIENCE FACTORY RIVERFRONT TOUR Explore Detroit’s beautiful riverfront and learn interesting facts about its continuing revitalization. Walking tours begin at Rivard Plaza and go through Milliken State Park and the Dequindre Cut before heading back to Rivard Plaza. (free). When: Sundays at 2 p.m. Where: Rivard Plaza


L E A R N M O R E A N D R E G I S T E R O N L I N E AT W W W. D E T R O I T R I V E R F R O N T. O R G .



Explore Detroit’s iconic skyscraper. The free one-hour tour takes visitors through the landmark GM Renaissance Center and outlines the rich history that General Motors shares with the riverfront and city of Detroit. (free).

Bike or walk up the Dequindre Cut to Eastern Market – just a little more than a mile away from the RiverWalk. A weekend is not complete without a Saturday trip to the Eastern Market for many families from all over metro Detroit.

When: Noon and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday

When: Saturday mornings Where: Eastern Market

Where: Pure Detroit Shop, Tower 400, Level 1


Building Our Riverfront We’ve seen remarkable progress on Detroit’s riverfront in the last 14 years… and we’re not done yet! Several major construction projects are underway this fall – transforming the riverfront into a world-class urban destination.


equindre Cut Freight Yard

The newest attraction along the Dequindre Cut is set to open very soon. Built from recycled shipping containers, the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard will be an exciting and unique place for music, shopping and entertainment. It’s located along the greenway between Wilkins and Division Streets and will feature public space for vendors, a DJ booth and interesting lighting displays, signage and furnishings. Right now, finishing touches are being finalized on the three-story structures. Look for a soft grand-opening during Harvestfest Detroit on October 21 and a larger grand opening in spring 2018.

Chene Park East/Stroh River Place Connection The RiverWalk is getting bigger with longer stretches of uninterrupted walking and biking paths. Construction crews will begin work on a new RiverWalk connection project later this year, featuring a pedestrian bridge between Chene Park East and Stroh River Place. The project opens up a small piece of riverfront that was not accessible for years. In addition to the pedestrian bridge, the property will receive significant upgrades and improvements – including stainless steel benches, marine railings, lighting, security cameras and colorful landscaping. Work begins on the project this fall and will wrap up in fall 2018. Atwater Beach A former parcel that provided no public access for decades will ultimately be a one-ofa-kind urban “beachfront” park as the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy continues


fundraising efforts for construction of Atwater Beach. Located near a new pedestrian bridge connecting Chene Park East and Stroh River Place, the park is sure to be popular with visitors when it opens in 2019. Atwater Beach will feature a wide sandy beach with lounge chairs, a playscape, an open-air shed for programs and events, and a barge serving tasty food and drink. Uniroyal RiverWalk Early stages of work are underway to transform the riverfront along the Uniroyal site. The project will eliminate the biggest gap along the East Riverfront by adding approximately 1,700 feet of RiverWalk between Mt. Elliott Park and Gabriel Richard Park. Designed with input from local firm Mannik & Smith and famed landscape architect Michael Desvigne, this new stretch of the RiverWalk will be a unique destination featuring creative design concepts with colorful landscaping, decorative railings, benches, lighting and security cameras. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2019.


A component of the design competition saw the Conservancy assembling small groups of Detroiters to go on a series of field trips to several world-class cities around the country. The Detroit group visited parks in Philadelphia, Chicago and New York this past summer to get a feel for what makes these public spaces special and to help see what residents may want in

A community-driven design process.

a reimagined West Riverfront Park.

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is using a $345,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to fund an international design competition that will help transform West Riverfront Park into a world-class gathering place for Detroiters and visitors alike.


“This grant allows us to reach out to some of the world’s most talented designers and work with them to create an iconic new destination in Detroit,” said Matt Cullen, chair of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Board of Directors. More than 80 design firms around the world were invited to participate in the competition. Eight firms were selected to present their qualifications in August to a national jury comprising representatives from the Conservancy, the City of Detroit and local and national architectural design and planning experts. Members of the local community were also present during the presentations. Four firms will be given $30,000 stipends to develop design concepts over the next several months that will be presented at a public exhibition in early February. With input from the public, the Conservancy will announce the winning design concept in late February.

Three of the winning four design firms are partnering with Metro Detroit or Detroit-based companies to round out their teams. West Riverfront Park is a 22-acre site located between Rosa Parks Boulevard and Eighth Street along the Detroit Riverfront. For nearly 100 years, the site was privately owned and closed to the public until the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy purchased the property and opened the park in 2014. Since then, the park has become a popular destination for people to enjoy the outdoors and striking views of the Detroit and the Windsor skylines. “We’re excited at the possibilities of what West Riverfront Park could become in the future,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “The possibilities really are endless at this point. While it is early in the process to get a feel for what it will look like, one thing we know for sure is that when it is complete, West Riverfront Park will have a profound impact on local residents and visitors for generations.” To find out more, visit

GUSTAFSON GUTHRIE NICHOL in collaboration with Arup, Guy Nordenson Associates, Conversation Design Forum, Saloniere, and Mannik Smith Group. Local partners include Rossetti (Detroit), and Building Community Value (Detroit). HOOD DESIGN in collaboration with DS+R, Richter, Arup, Fluidity, West 8, Ken Greenberg, Lotus Water and Altus. JAMES CORNER FIELD OPERATIONS in collaboration with StruXture Architects, Sherwood Design Engineers, Mickey Fearn, HR&A Advisors, Park Advocacy Planning & Stewardship, ETM Associates and CMS Cost Management Services. Local partners include Austell Associates (Bloomfield Hills), Detroit Collaborative Design Center (Detroit), Giffels Webster (Detroit) and AKT Peerless (Farmington). MICHAEL VAN VALKENBURGH ASSOCIATES in collaboration with Utile, Limnotech and Mobility in Chain (MIC). Local partners include PEA (Troy) and NTH Consultants (Northville). 7

VOLUNTEER ON THE RIVERFRONT More than 400 people volunteered on Detroit’s Riverfront this summer – making popular events like GM River Days and other programs possible. Some want to be part of Detroit’s comeback. Others enjoy meeting new people from all over the world. Many feel the need to give back to our community. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy appreciates them all.

At events, you might find volunteers setting up, helping with registration and admissions, greeting visitors and leading arts and crafts activities for kids. At other times, volunteers hand out fliers, staff the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy information booth and assist RiverWalk visitors with questions.

“We rely on volunteers to help in so many different ways. The riverfront would not be this vibrant and exciting destination without all these wonderful people,” said Renee Rodriguez, volunteer manager at the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “We are thankful for each and every volunteer.”

“There’s so much happening on the riverfront and volunteers are at the center of it all!”

Volunteers can choose to work as little or as much as they like. Some volunteers work a single event once a year and others work a few hours every week. While the busy summer season is over, volunteer opportunities are still available. Many volunteers will be needed for Harvestfest Detroit on October 21. You can be a part of the excitement on Detroit’s Riverfront! Learn about volunteer opportunities at

A B OV E A N D B E YO N D Detroit resident James Wilburn goes above and beyond what anyone expects from a volunteer. “He is always willing to give a helping hand no matter what the event or program may be,” said Renee Rodriguez, volunteer manager at the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy.

WAYS TO VO LUN T EE R • Distribute brochures on the RiverWalk • Help with events and programs • Lead arts and crafts activities for kids • Staff the information booth • Be a Riverfront Ambassador • Set up at events • And many more! To find out more about volunteer opportunities, call (313) 566-8207. 8

Visit the Riverfront and you might find James greeting guests or even playing his trumpet. “He is always a friendly, warm person who greets everyone with a smile.” To recognize his tremendous efforts, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy recently nominated James for a Recognition of Service Excellence (ROSE) Award from the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. James made it all the way to the finals in the volunteer category. Thanks for all you do, James!


The numbers are impressive: 24 stories read by community leaders. 3,600 children participants. 3,600 books given to children for free. Dozens of volunteers working together to make it all happen. Thanks to the generous support of General Motors, it was another amazing summer of Reading & Rhythm on the Riverfront (R3). For the seventh season, Detroit-area children gathered at Rivard Plaza on Thursdays and Fridays to enjoy the magic of music and reading. Best of all: Every child received a free book to take home! With family-friendly music and entertainment, story readings, free rides on the Cullen Family Carousel, arts and crafts, and healthy treats, R3 is summertime favorite. “It’s wonderful to see children from all over metro Detroit connecting, laughing, playing and, most importantly, reading together,” said Michele Marine, director of programming for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. Story-time is the highlight of this early literacy series. Community leaders and local celebrities read to wideeyed kids. Local newspaper and TV personalities, business leaders, politicians and even the chief of the Detroit Police Department, volunteered to share their favorite stories this summer. “In the early years of R3, we reached out to camps and day care programs to bring kids down here,” Michele Marine said. “We still invite groups, but now we also have hundreds of children and families just show up because they’ve heard about the program or attended a previous session.” R3 is catching on and reaching more children every year!

To participate as an R3 group in 2018, call (313) 566-8234. To sponsor riverfront programming, call (313) 566-8226.

VISIT A LITTLE FREE LIBRARY R3 may be over for the summer, but there’s still time to read on the riverfront. If you don’t have a book of your own, check out the Little Free Libraries in several locations along the riverfront. Or, if you have a book you’d like to share with others, you may drop it off at one of the locations. 9


for a Lifetime on the Riverfront

YOU CAN TRANSFORM DETROIT’S RIVERFRONT Our basic promise to the millions of visitors who enjoy the RiverWalk, parks, pavilions and green spaces managed by the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is to provide a safe, clean and beautiful place for all along the revitalized Detroit River — but we can’t do it without you. Help us keep this promise by: • Becoming an annual Friend of the Detroit RiverWalk member at the $35 level and above. • Making a one-time or monthly donation of any size. • Commemorate a loved one or memory by purchasing an engraved brick or paver. • Honor a key life milestone or a dear friend by underwriting a bench or tree. • Sponsor an event hosted by the Conservancy. • Remember the Conservancy in your estate plans. For more information call the Development department directly at: 313.566.8226

For Detroit residents Andrew and Kristen McCorry, the Dequindre Cut is more than just a bicycle path. It’s part of their love story. Andrew proposed to Kristin on the Dequindre Cut just after Eastern Market’s annual flower day in 2016. “I wanted to propose in a location that will always be there,” Andrew said. The couple married at Eastern Market in July and took their wedding photos on the Cut. To commemorate their day, Andrew and Kristen sponsored a tree on the Dequindre Cut to celebrate the moment their lives changed. “We support the Conservancy because the beautification of the riverfront

and pedestrian-only paths are important for us. For Detroit to continue its positive upward movement, we need efforts like this to continue.” Years from now, the Conservancy looks forward to providing a safe, clean and beautiful spot for new generations of the McCorry family to create memories for a lifetime. Commemorate a memory for a lifetime. For more information about sponsorship of a tree, bench or engraving of a brick or paver on the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut, visit or call 313.566.8226.


several roles at the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra.

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy’s new chief development officer brings world-class fundraising expertise and a passion for “all things Detroit” to the newly created role. Cassie Brenske, a resident of Detroit’s Woodbridge neighborhood, will serve as a senior member of the Conservancy’s leadership team while spearheading all development initiatives and fundraising strategies.

“Cassie brings a tremendous amount of experience and a broad skillset to our team,” said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “Her leadership will allow us to expand our reach in the community and to achieve a new level of success with our fundraising efforts.”

She joins the Conservancy from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) where she served most recently as director of advancement for individual giving, a position she held since the fall of 2014. Brenske joined the DSO in 2011. Before then, she served in 10

Beyond her professional work in non-profit development, Cassie demonstrates her commitment to Detroit by volunteering in a variety of beautification efforts throughout the city.



The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is grateful to all its new and long-term partners for their support in transforming the riverfront into a world-class gathering place for all.




• Each year, the Knight Cities Challenge seeks innovative ideas from groups working to make American cities more vibrant places to live and work. For 2017, the Knight Foundation received more than 4,500 applications nationwide. After narrowing the field down to 145 finalists, the Conservancy was one of 33 winning proposals, receiving $225,700 to help launch development of the exciting new Atwater Beach project, which will transform the way people use the RiverWalk.

• As part of its A Community Thrives (ACT) program, the Gannett Foundation recently awarded a $50,000 grant to the Conservancy. These funds will also support development of Atwater Beach. The Conservancy was one of nine winning applicants from a field of more than 1,000 requests.

• The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation awarded the Conservancy a $345,000 grant to fund an international design competition that will help transform West Riverfront Park into a worldclass gathering place. Thanks to this grant, some of the world’s most talented designers are competing to create an iconic new destination in Detroit. The winning design concept will be named in February.

About the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 with the mission to develop public access to Detroit’s Riverfront and to serve as an anchor for economic development. As the permanent stewards of the RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut, the Conservancy is responsible for raising the funds needed for construction, operation, maintenance, security and programming of the public spaces located along the riverfront. The Conservancy’s ultimate vision is to develop five-and-a-half miles of riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge on the west to Gabriel Richard Park, just east of the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle. Visit for more information. 11

Non Profit Organization US Postage


Permit No. 730 Southfield, MI

600 Renaissance Center Suite 1720 Detroit, MI 48243-1802 (313) 566-8200 IN THIS ISSUE… STORY


Leadership Letter............................................ 1 Detroit’s Urban Garden Party................... 2 Discover Campbell Terrace........................ 3 Fall on the Riverfront................................... 4 Construction Update.................................... 6 Reimagine West Riverfront Park............ 7 Volunteer on the Riverfront...................... 8 Reading and Rhythm on the Riverfront (R³)................................................ 9 Memories for a Lifetime ............................ 10 Project Support in 2017............................... 11

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Newsletter Fall 2017  

Issue 2 - Leadership Letter • Detroit’s Urban Garden Party • Discover Campbell Terrace • Fall on the Riverfront • Construction Update • Reim...

Detroit RiverFront Conservancy Newsletter Fall 2017  

Issue 2 - Leadership Letter • Detroit’s Urban Garden Party • Discover Campbell Terrace • Fall on the Riverfront • Construction Update • Reim...