Open Streets Detroit expands programming with Rouge Park event this July

Open Streets Detroit is expanding in size and scope — and what better place to do it than the city’s largest park?

This summer, the international placemaking event is growing in its third year in Detroit. An Open Streets Detroit event has been announced for the 1,184-acre Rouge Park on Saturday, July 21, from 1 to 5 p.m. on the city's western edge. A second event will be held later this year.

Open Streets Detroit turns city streets into pedestrian-only zones to demonstrate the possible uses of streets as public space. Programming and vendors contribute to a fair-like atmosphere.

This is the first time that a city parkway will be shut down for the event. Michigan Avenue in Corktown and Vernor Highway in southwest were closed in previous years. It's estimated that 25,000 people attended the first two events.

"What Open Streets Detroit has done in the southwest Detroit and Corktown neighborhoods was so fantastic, we wanted to duplicate the experience in different parts of the city where each neighborhood has its own unique personality," says Brad Dick, deputy chief services and infrastructure officer with the city of Detroit. 

"Having it in Rouge Park gives it a twist where people are able to enjoy great family activities within a park setting."

A three-mile stretch of Spinoza, Outer, and Rouge Park drives will be temporarily shut down to create a car-free loop within the park. Walking, biking, skate-boarding, and any other non-motorized activities are encouraged.

Open Streets is also soliciting vendors and program partners to help activate the space. According to a press release, "Open Streets Detroit is seeking program partners who can create family-friendly, participatory activities focused on physical activity, health and wellness, appreciation of nature, and arts and culture."

Applications are available online. There is a June 29 deadline.

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