Construction is underway on the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park, a 22-acre park located on Detroit’s West Riverfront and supported by CMF members the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCWJF), William Davidson Foundation and DTE Energy Foundation.
The recent groundbreaking marked a major step in the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s goal of completing 5.5 miles of revitalized riverfront.
Ralph Wilson Park, a $75 million investment for the community, will dramatically transform the Detroit Riverfront into one of the most beautiful public spaces in the country.
“We have known for years that this part of the riverfront had tremendous potential, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation encouraged us to dream big,” Matt Cullen, chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy said. “Parks like this only happen once in a lifetime. Ralph Wilson Park will rank among the best parks in the country and have a profound impact on neighborhoods, and generations of Detroiters will gather together here and make memories that last a lifetime.”
In October 2018, RCWJF announced a $40 million capital and $10 million endowment commitment to the Conservancy for the future Ralph Wilson Park. The foundation also provided additional capital support to ensure key connections to the park could be made between the East Riverfront and West Riverfront and beyond with the addition of the Southwest Greenway.
The park will feature a water garden, the William Davidson Sport House, the Delta Dental Play Garden with an array of animal structures and the DTE Foundation Hill, an expansive lawn for special events.
Last week, the DTE Energy Foundation announced a $2.5 million gift to support the DTE Foundation Hill, which is expected to become one of the most popular destinations at the park and home to special programming like concerts, movies in the park, outdoor fitness classes and sledding in the winter.
Through a $10 million grant from CMF member the William Davidson Foundation, the William Davidson Sport House will feature a raised canopy and skylight in a multi-use flexible space for a range of programs and events.
According to a press release, the design for Ralph Wilson Park has incorporated an inclusive community-led process in which the public was invited to share their ideas and input. Leading up to the groundbreaking, the Conservancy team has hosted more than 100 community meetings to gather input.
The park will be completed in 2024.
Read the full press release.