Green – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Sun, 25 Nov 2018 14:29:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 $50 Million Gift From The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Will Transform West Riverfront Park Wed, 17 Oct 2018 14:13:48 +0000 Detroit’s riverfront just took another major step forward.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation — in honor of what would be Ralph C. Wilson’s 100th birthday — is making a $50 million grant to redevelop West Riverfront Park.

Who gets what: $40 Million will go to the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (a group that’s been on a roll as of late) and $10 million will go to the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan to seed an endowment to support the park.

A big step forward: We’re in the final phases of designing the park, according to press materials. The total park cost will be $55-60 million, so this doesn’t pay the whole freight but the Detroit RiverFront conservancy is adept at fundraising and has exceed their goals in the past. West Riverfront Park is now estimated to be completed in 2022.

West Riverfront Park will be renamed “Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park.”

A twin project in Buffalo: The overall gift is $200 million. $100 million to the Detroit area, and $100 million to Buffalo. Buffalo is getting a riverfront park, too. Additionally, there’s $50 million set aside to build and maintain a network of recreational trails in each city.

Just who was Ralph C. Wilson? He was the owner of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and a Metro Detroiter, living in St. Clair Shores. He died in 2014, and the $1.2 billion endowment in the Ralph C. Wilson foundation was made mostly from selling the Buffalo Bills after his death for $1.4 billion. He had a minority stake in the Detroit Lions at one point, too.

What will it look like? Here are some preliminary renderings.

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Metro Detroit Ranks In Top Quartile Nationally For Clean Energy Jobs Wed, 26 Sep 2018 00:20:32 +0000

A new study says the Detroit region ranks 11th out of the top 50 U.S. metropolitan regions for clean-energy jobs.

The Clean Jobs Cities ranking comes from the nonprofit organization Environmental Entrepreneurs. It says the Detroit area employs more than 95,000 people in clean, renewable and energy-efficiency jobs.

Grand Rapids rounded out the list at number 50, with more than 18,000 clean energy jobs.

Michigan’s strong showing was led by energy efficiency jobs, positions designing and building clean vehicles and jobs classified as renewable energy. Los Angeles, New York and Chicago made up the top three markets for clean energy jobs.

The report says the top 50 metropolitan areas account for more than 58 percent of the nearly 3.2 million clean-energy jobs in the United States. The researchers say that figure vastly eclipses employment in traditional fossil fuels industries and shows the economic viability of shifting to clean energy.

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All Things Detroit, Funding For Affordable Housing, Golf Course Drama, Belle Isle Trail, & More Wed, 14 Mar 2018 04:48:26 +0000

This is your Daily Detroit News Byte For Wednesday, March 14th, 2018.

  • Three of Detroit’s city-owned golf courses are closing
  • A $250 million dollar fund has been set up for affordable housing
  • I-94 on the east side of the city will be closed this weekend
  • A former golf course over by Seven Mile may find new life as a park and development
  • General Motors is launching an Airbnb of cars with Maven
  • Belle Isle is getting a new 6-mile trail

And two features. One with Ryan Landau of Re:Purpose about Detroit’s job market and who’s hiring. The other is with Jennyfer Crawford of All Things Detroit about her new project to highlight Detroit’s retailers and makers, All Things Detroit Conversations.

Thanks to today’s episode sponsor, Milo Digital.

Write a review, subscribe, all the things on Apple Podcasts or wherever fine podcasts are found.

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9 Reasons This New Garden On Belle Isle Could Be The Bee’s Knees Thu, 11 Jan 2018 16:57:51 +0000 Plans are in motion to install a new 1.5 acre garden that will be located in front of the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon between the bandshell and the Whitcomb Conservatory gardens.

The garden will be one of collaboration between Oudolf, Belle Isle Conservancy, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The project focused group called the Oudolf Garden Detroit will be raising $2.7 million for construction and to provide a fund for ongoing maintenance.

The Oudolf garden is still in its planning stages as installation is planned to begin in 2019.

After talking with Oudolf at a media roundtable last week, I have been thinking about all of the possibilities and how this could be great for Detroit.

9. Oudolf has over 40 years of experience designing gardens

Recently Architectural Digest said he’s among the most “influential men and women working in interior design and architecture, who are changing the world, one room, one building and one garden at a time.”

8. The garden will be a wonderful place for pollinators like butterflies, bees and birds

Hauser & Wirth Sculpture Park in Bruton, Sommerset

His gardens are wild without actually being wild. He uses a mix of native and non-native plants in his gardens.

7. Detroiters will have one more thing to compare us to Chicago and NYC

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park

Chicago might have the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park and New York City has the High Line but we will soon have our own Oudolf garden.

6. Piet Oudolf is known for using plants that are interesting all four seasons in his gardens

Piet Oudolf at Millennium Park in Chicago


So even when it is freezing outside the garden will still be interesting to look at.

5. This garden will strengthen the connection to other greenways in the city

The High Line in New York City

We’ve already got an amazing Riverwalk but imagine the connection that we could have between Belle Isle and the Riverwalk or even the Dequindre Cut.

4. The location for the garden will give an underutilized part of the park a new life

I can already imagine a sitting in the garden on a warm summer day and listening to live music playing from the band shell.

3. This could just be the first park by Oudolf in the city

Oudolf during media round table


He played coy at the round table, but there was some talk of other projects in the future.

2. This garden could generate more interest in financial support for Belle Isle 

Current state of the proposed garden site

This garden will put Detroit on the map as an international destination because Piet Oudolf is an internationally renowned garden designer.

1. We deserve it

Seriously. Belle Isle is a great space that has the potential to be a world-class draw. And beyond that, all of us who live within driving distance should be excited to come to the island. We as a region should push for the best.

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15 Photos Of The Work To Restore Belle Isle’s Lake Okonoka, Connect It To Detroit River Sat, 18 Nov 2017 22:26:35 +0000 You might not have made it over to Belle Isle State Park since the fall season has started, but if you do, you’ll see that a ton of work is happening over by Lake Okonoka.

A $5 million restoration project is well underway that will restore the long stagnant lake near the Belle Isle United States Coast Guard Station.

When you actually get out there to see the work, it’s breathtaking to see a lake you’ve seen for years completely drained.

If you’ve been on a canoe or kayak trip through the canals before, you can see the unrealized potential that connecting the island canal system to the Detroit River (via the Blue Heron Lagoon) in a proper way has.

According to DNR information, the project will when it is complete in the Fall of 2018 connect the canal system to the river through a direct connection that you’ll be able to paddle through as it will be 45 feet wide.

The pumping station by the Culvert near Blue Heron Lagoon. The station will remain.

More importantly, fish will be able to enter the lake to spawn as well as water will circulate better through the system.

Eventually there’s going to be a bridge here instead of this dinky culvert (a.k.a. big pipe under the road).

So yes, there’s currently a small connection, but not one that is meaningful.

Back by Lake Okonoka, a “stop log structure” and pedestrian crossing is also going in.

You can see work on this spot above where the interior canal hits the lake. This will allow for flow and water level control.

And of course, the berm holding the water of the canals back is pretty neat to check out.

One side water, the other not.

And some dry bed under the bridge.

Woodside Drive is going to be split in two, with green space in between the two.

The project is being funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through their Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is ponying up $70,000 in matching funds.

There’s a year of work ahead, but it’s a big development for the beloved island.

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Detroit Planting 10,000 Trees Over Next Three Years Wed, 15 Nov 2017 02:22:08 +0000 The “10,000 Up” initiative is putting in motion Detroit’s Forestry division to plant 10,000 trees across the city. The new plantings will replace the more than 10,000 trees that have fallen “victim to wind storms, the emerald ash borer, disease or old age.”

According to the city of Detroit, more than 900 trees have already been planted.

The “10,000 Up” initiative, which is part of Mayor Mike Duggan’s 10 point neighborhood plan, got underway earlier this fall and already has planted more than 900 trees.  The city will spend approximately $3 million per year for each of the next three years to complete the initiative.

“Detroit used to be known as a city of trees, but we have lost so many over the past several decades to various causes,” said General Services Department Director, Brad Dick.  “We’ve been putting a lot of energy into removing the dangerous dead trees and felt it was time to get back to planting new trees because they add so much to the community and the environment.”

The city of Detroit will spend about $3 million per year for the next three years to make this happen.

Residents, neighborhood groups and block club associations will have input, as well. They will be able to notify the Forestry department where they would like the trees to be planted when a survey comes out where inspectors can collect addresses and verify if the areas mentioned by residents are viable enough to plant a tree.

Species of trees being planted will vary based on availability, but the city expects them to have a lifespan between 40 and 100 years.

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QUICK TIP: North End Urban Farm Hosting Crop Up Exhibit Party This Saturday Night Fri, 08 Sep 2017 19:47:30 +0000 I know that I have already written this weekend’s City 5, but I found out about another event happening on Saturday night.

The Oakland Avenue Urban Farm is hosting an event called Crop Up. It is being curated by Detroit architecture and design studio Akoaki.

The Crop up is an exhibition opening party. It is exploring art, agriculture, and the cultivation of the public commons on the North End of Detroit

There will be art, live music and performances, and food.

The event is part of the Detroit City of Design Summit that is currently going on. Hours are from 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

The event is free to attend, but you will need to register for it.

The Crop Up will be held at Store located at 9400 Oakland Avenue Detroit, Michigan 48211

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$70,110 In Tree Planting Grants Awarded By DTE Energy Foundation, Michigan DNR Mon, 14 Aug 2017 19:53:49 +0000 Some parts of Michigan are going to get a little greener thanks to a series of grants from the DTE Energy Foundation.

All told, 29 Michigan communities will be receiving a share of the $70,110. Many of those are in the tri-county area.

This tree planting grant program is sponsored by the DTE Energy Foundation in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and ReLeaf Michigan.

Grants awarded will be used to help purchase trees of various species and sizes to be planted this fall or next spring.

The nonprofit ReLeaf Michigan works with communities statewide to replenish tree canopies through volunteer tree-planting events.

Grant award winners in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties include the cities of Dearborn, Gibraltar, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Hamtramck, Huntington Woods, Lincoln Park, Mt. Clemens, Plymouth and Troy. Also, the Butcher Educational Center, Northville High School Boys and Girls Track and Field, and the Smith Elementary School Parent Faculty Organization.

If your neck of the woods needs more woods, you can get in touch to coordinate a local volunteer tree-planting or educational events at 1-800-642-7353,, or

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Watch The New Beacon Park Be Built In Just One Minute In This Time-Lapse Video Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:40:38 +0000 The much anticipated Beacon Park is almost ready to open to the public. The 1.5-acre park located on the west side of downtown Detroit has been under construction since last year.

Today comes a time-lapse video of the construction. I’ve embedded the video above.

The new park is located on Grand River and Cass Avenue, between the historic G.A.R. Building and the DTE Energy Headquarters.

The opening ceremonies will be held on Thursday, July 20 at 11:00 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Afterward there will be a free, four day festival in the park. You can find the entire schedule of events on the Empowering Michigan Blog.

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Detroit Gets $2 Million Grant To Design The New 26 Mile Inner Circle Greenway Thu, 13 Jul 2017 21:59:22 +0000 Today comes news that a $2 million grant was given to City of Detroit by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. The grant will be used to fund the design and pre-construction of all uncompleted portions of the Inner Circle Greenway (ICG), including a recently purchased Conrail railroad property, connecting together a  26 mile non-motorized path and greenway.

There also will be a planning framework that will be created to incorporate the half-mile corridor to either side of the greenway itself.

WHY THIS MATTERS: Although Metro Detroit is a car-centered culture, many cities that are lapping Detroit and metro Detroit in population growth (the region has been basically flat as for as population goes for 50+ years while some other major regions have basically doubled in size) are centered around having various types of transportation and options for physical activity. This may help attract more residents and improve the quality of life of existing ones.

MORE THAN JUST A PATH: According to the city, the plan will include recommendations for land use and zoning, green infrastructure, connections to public assets such as parks, way-finding, and thoughtful intersection with local and regional multimodal transportation routes such as the Iron Belle Trail, SMART bus network, and the new Gordie Howe Bridge. The plan is that the project team, whoever is chosen, will meet with impacted communities to get comments on proposed designs and incorporate residents’ feedback into the final construction plans.

WHEN DO WE GET ON IT?: The current timeline is to have this project ready by fall of 2019. “Skipper’s rule” on that – meaning, believe it when they get closer to the date and open the thing – as these projects are large and delays often happen.

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