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Project EverGreen wins donation to revitalize Detroit park

June 8, 2021 -  By
Detroit park renovation

The charitable arm of Rocket Mortgage is donating $280,000 to Project EverGreen, a Cleveland-based non-profit dedicated to green, healthy parks and public spaces in underserved urban areas. The money will go to revitalizing Detroit’s Antonio McDuffy Park, a small green space near the city’s Motown Museum and General Motors’ Factory Zero electric vehicle plant.

Green spaces such as parks, playgrounds, playing fields and community gardens are the lungs of a city, and Rocket Mortgage’s Rocket Community Fund’s donation could improve breathing conditions in the company’s hometown.

“We know the importance of inclusive, vibrant public spaces, now more than ever,” said Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund. “Our partnership to develop Antonio McDuffy Park will unlock a new space where residents can come together safely and build strong social bonds that will support the resiliency of the entire city.”

Antonio McDuffy Park, formerly Philadelphia Park, is in Detroit’s New Center Historic District. The park serves as an important community gathering space for residents of the Piety Hill neighborhood. It was re-named for Tony McDuffy, a neighborhood resident and tireless advocate for the community.

The renovation will double the size of the park to about 1.5 acres, as the city recently acquired adjacent lots from the Central Detroit Christian CDC and private property owners. Demolition of a vacated alley and grading work will extend the park at the corner of W. Philadelphia St. and 3rd Ave. West toward W. Euclid St.

Preliminary survey work was completed this year, but the bulk of the work was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Work on the project began June 5 with a community event and the ribbon cutting is scheduled for June 30.

The project will include a new 1/8-mile concrete walkway, a new inclusive playground, new picnic tables, grills, bike racks, benches and a horseshoe pit. Additionally, new trees will be planted, and an open grass play area will be created.

Brad Dick, group executive, services and infrastructure, City of Detroit, said, “Our goal is to make sure that our parks represent the communities they serve, and we are also proud to rename the park after longtime community advocate Tony McDuffy.”

Project EverGreen and the Rocket Community Fund plan to work with the city to identify additional park renovation projects in Detroit.

“Parks play a vital role in the health and well-being of youth and adults alike, a fact never more evident than during the pandemic. Connecting people to their parks enhance social well-being, relationships, safety and environmental health,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen.

Additional sponsors and supporters of the project include Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Canadian automotive supplier Magna, Premier Group Associates, PEA Group, The Davey Tree Expert Co. and Re-Tree LLC.

LM Staff

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