Capitol Park will be getting a face lift starting in the spring of 2018.
Monday night during a community meeting the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) and PUBLIC WORKS principal designer Marc Ryan went over the potential plan for the park.
Currently, Capitol Park is a lacking green space and trees. The new plan would include trees that will create a rising canopy, river gardens, and grassy areas.
The mix of five trees will mainly be native to Michigan. The trees are being chosen based on how they will grow over time.
“It is fitting because there is a lot of change happening really fast here and this is a place where things slow down and you’re growing something,” said Marc Ryan. “Making a park is investing and cultivating a landscape which you take care of and nurture it.”
Throughout the renderings you can see that the majority of the green space will be made up of trees. There are two grass sections proposed right now.
During the meeting, it was clear that a good amount of the people wanted more grass. Some even said they wanted the entire park to be made up of grass.
The proposed park would have a ground cover made up of decomposed granite aggregate which is great for growing trees. However some residents are concerned about how pet friendly that surface would be to picking up dog waste.
The Albert is one of the most dog friendly apartments downtown, and seeing as it is right in Capitol Park both the human and furry residents utilize Capitol Park a lot.
Park planners are still trying to figure out a way to keep the park pet friendly.
The design will also close Shelby Street to traffic, turning it into a promenade for pedestrians. The promenade will be accessible by emergency vehicles. Business owners and apartment residents will be able to schedule deliveries since there is not alley access.
The flow of traffic will continue to be the same on Griswold, State Street, and Grand River.
This rendering gives you a better view of the south side of the park. This rendering also includes the building that we reported about in August of 2016.
The designers have also taken into account the history of Capitol Park as the location for the first capitol building, final resting place for Governor Stevens T. Mason, and it’s roll in the Underground Railroad.
They have added design elements to honor that history.
Currently there is a plan for a 120 foot communal table which will have the Michigan Constitution inscribed on it. The table could be used year round.
There is also a proposed idea to put the statue of Governor Stevens T. Mason at ground level so people can interact with it. If this does occur the podium would not be removed.
This idea had mixed reactions from the public at the meeting. Some felt it is disrespectful since this is where he is entombed, while others think that this is an innovative idea. Mason has been moved, according to the conversation at the meeting, four times in the past.
The designers also want to tip their hat to Augustus B. Woodward’s design of Detroit after the fire of 1805.
There will be one more community meeting once the final design is completed.
The proposed design will be going in front of the city’s Historic Commission for approval on Wednesday, September 13.