DETROIT, July 26, 2011 -- A community-driven initiative to make Roosevelt Park into a vibrant public space for recreation and the arts continues to gather support.
Part of the plan involves creating a world-class skate park that would attract not only local skateboarders, but also enthusiasts from around the country and the world.
Roosevelt Park is the space between the Michigan Central Depot and Michigan Avenue in Corktown.
The cost of the skate park is estimated at $.5M to $.75M, according to Phil Cooley, owner of Slows Bar BQ and one of the leaders of the effort to revitalize Roosevelt Park. Phil says that funds are being sought from public and private sources, and that construction of the skate park is slated to begin next spring.
The revitalization effort is called the Roosevelt Park Revival and is directed by the Roosevelt Park Conservancy. Phil is one of the Conservancy board members. The board is made up of community, civic and business leaders. It includes John Van Camp, president of Southwest Solutions. Southwest Solutions is one of many nonprofit, public and private partners involved in the effort to transform Roosevelt Park into a valuable community asset.
Last week, community members gathered to discuss details of the skate park. Ongoing community input and building consensus is central to the Roosevelt Park Revival initiative, which began in 2008. Indeed, the idea to create a skate park came from a community survey in which residents voted for what they wanted to be built in the Park. A skate park and an amphitheater topped the list. About 1,000 people have already signed a petition to construct the community skate park, and organizers are seeking more signatures.
Creating a comprehensive plan for the Park’s future follows an “open framework” model. All elements of the plan are discussed openly and reshaped to balance the interests and concerns of all sectors of the community. In addition, elements of the plan will be implemented in phases and are designed to be flexible to meet changing community needs.
The preliminary and still evolving plan includes the skate park, amphitheater, athletic courts and fields, bike and pedestrian paths, community art space, a children’s playscape, and gardens. In this scheme, the old Michigan Central Depot is seen as an asset, providing a compelling and historical backdrop for the contemporary Park environment.
Traffic patterns into the park would be changed to accommodate the new public space.
The Roosevelt Park Revival is designed to dovetail with other proposed developments in Corktown and southwest Detroit that could transform the area into an exciting destination spot.
To learn more about the Roosevelt Park Revival and how to get involved, please visit its website.