Woodward | Warren Park celebrates grand opening June 5
Wayne State University will celebrate the grand opening of a major community gathering space on Wednesday, June 5. Over two years in the making, Woodward | Warren Park is a two-acre greenspace at Woodward and Warren avenues, across the street from the Wayne State Welcome Center at an intersection that is considered a gateway to campus. The grand opening takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a brief program at 11 a.m.
While the park has been in active use during the planning phase, the university has added many new touches and is launching daily summer park programming. Updates include a welcome kiosk, which will be staffed six days a week by Wayne State's Office of Economic Development (OED) and Detroit Experience Factory (DXF), as well as flexible bistro seating and new landscaping with native plants sourced via the Detroit Biodiversity Network and grown on campus. The Wayne State University Farmers Market will launch its 2019 season in the park on June 5 and continue every Wednesday through Oct. 30.
"The Wayne State University campus is the largest public space in Midtown," says Emily Thompson, who has led the park project as place-based initiatives manager for OED. "Woodward | Warren Park is designed to be an active place for the Midtown community to gather and a welcoming entryway to the Wayne State campus."
Plans for park revitalization began in fall 2017, when the university raised more than $100,000 for the improvements. Funding sources included the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Ralph C. Wilson Design and Access Fund and the Public Spaces Community Places program. Through Public Spaces Community Places, Wayne State crowdfunded $25,000, which was matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). Major crowdfunding contributors included the Michigan Department of Transportation and Midtown Detroit, Inc.
"Woodward | Warren Park will provide an inviting space for all to enjoy at an important gateway between the city and the Wayne State University campus," said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. "The MEDC is pleased to provide resources for this park through the Public Spaces Community Places program."
Woodward | Warren Park is a part of ongoing efforts by Wayne State to create a vibrant, 24/7 campus that engages both the Wayne State and broader Midtown communities. Its creation coincides with two other important public space projects: a new Wayne State master plan and the Detroit Institute of Arts Plaza | Midtown Cultural Connections initiative. The university has committed to keeping this high-priority site in use as a park for at least the next several years to assess use patterns and viability of expanded greenspace.
"By creating a prototype park, we hope to better understand how the Wayne State community, Midtown residents and visitors use this space and demonstrate the ways that recreation and greenspace are essential to a thriving, walkable community," says Thompson.