Detroit Parks Coalition awards $450K in grants to city parks, improvements planned

What’s happening: The Detroit Parks Coalition recently announced that the nonprofit organization has awarded $450,000 in grants to ten of the city’s park stewardship organizations, with those ten organizations each receiving $45,000 toward their own capital improvement projects. An additional $20,250 will be allocated to support those organizations’ operating expenses.

Who they are: The Detroit Parks Coalition (DPC) launched an 18-month organizational pilot in April 2022, securing nearly $1 million in funding thanks to grants from The Kresge Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Knight Foundation. Key partners include the State of Michigan and the Detroit Pistons. The DPC was formed to support healthy, equitable, and vibrant parks and public spaces in the city.

Roll call: The coalition consists of ten park stewardship organizations that represent more than 20 Detroit parks. They include the Belle Isle Conservancy, Chandler Park Conservancy, Clark Park Coalition, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Downtown Detroit Partnership, Friends of Patton Park, Friends of Rouge Park, Midtown Detroit, Inc., People for Palmer Park, and Sidewalk Detroit.

The Dequindre Cut. (File photo: Nick Hagen)
What’s planned: The Belle Isle Aquarium will install new signage and wayfinding ($45,000); Cadillac Square will purchase new furniture and shade umbrellas ($45,000); New Center Park will update its sound board, stage lighting and stage roof ($45,000); new trail connections, signage, and amenities are planned for Rouge Park’s Joe Prance Recreation Area ($45,000); Patton Park will receive new amenities ($45,000); Palmer Park will buy new benches, trash cans, wayfinding signs, and community kiosks ($45,000); improvements are planned for improve Eliza Howell Park’s River Trail, including a new trailhead ($17,500); LED lighting will be installed at the Clark Park ice rink ($39,000); landscaping and signage is planned for the Chandler Park Skatepark ($25,000); the Dequindre Cut will receive updated signage and wayfinding ($22,600) and lighting will be repaired at the Dequindre Cut Freight Yard ($22,400); a welcome kiosk and refreshed interpretive signage will be installed in Eliza Howell Park ($17,500), where invasive species management and native plantings are also planned ($10,000); Chandler Park will use $10,000 toward building an outdoor education classroom and use $10,000 for maintenance equipment; and the electrical boxes at the Clark Park recreation center will be updated ($6,000).

Why it’s important: “Detroit’s parks organizations steward our green spaces and connect them to the surrounding neighborhoods and communities,” says Sigal Hemy, DPC’s executive director. “These small improvements add up to a significant increase in quality of life throughout the city.”

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.