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Development Promises New Life for Historic Capitol Park

Detroit's historic Capitol Park at State Street and Griswold Avenue will soon be re-born as a leisure destination after years of serving as a major transit hub.

The Downtown Development Authority, in collaboration with the Downtown Detroit Partnership, has launched a $1.1 million renovation that will make the park visitor-friendly and serve as a potential anchor to attract news businesses to the area.

Capitol Park is rich in historical significance. Michigan's first territorial capitol building was housed on the site in 1823, although it was moved to Michigan's first state capitol in 1837. After the transfer of government to Lansing in 1847, the building housed a public school for nearly half a century, until it was destroyed in a fire. A building close to the park was an important link in the Underground Railroad. The site has always remained public space, serving as a transit center starting in 1955.

Historical fixtures of the park will remain and very old trees will stay in place and be incorporated into the new landscaping. The DDA expects to upgrade landscaping and irrigation, install new pavement treatments and brick pavers, improve lighting and add amenities such as new benches. The streets and sidewalks around the park will also be improved and the park's statue of Michigan's first governor Stevens T. Mason will be refurbished and relocated from its current location on State St. to Griswold.

The Capitol Park renovation is expected to be complete next year.

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