Project to transform 22-acre park along Detroit Riverfront breaks ground

Park is expected to be completed by 2024

Major donation paves the way for west Riverfront Park in Detroit

DETROIT – On Tuesday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and partners broke ground on the west Riverfront project.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park, which is 22 acres, will be transformed into an attractive public space with reconstruction that will work towards the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s goal of revitalizing the riverfront.

The park has received a $75 million investment to create a welcoming public space -- $2.5 million of the investment was gifted by the DTE Energy Foundation.

“As a longtime patron of the Detroit Riverfront, I am proud to kick off the construction of Wilson Park,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “Michigan is full of unmatched natural beauty, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park will be no different. Gov. Whitmer and I have made historic investments in Michigan’s state and local parks, and we are committed to ensuring that every Michigander can experience and enjoy our natural resources.”

According to a press release, the park will feature a sports house, water garden, play garden, animal structures and a lawn for special events.

Some of the sponsors for the new features are William Davidson, Delta Dental, and DTE Foundation.

The William Davidson Sport house will be a multi-used space allowing various programs and events to utilize the space. For the new garden, there will be a four-acre playground installed, including a 20-foot bear play structure and other animals within the playground.

“We have known for years that this part of the riverfront had tremendous potential, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation encouraged us to dream big,” said Matt Cullen, chairman, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. “Parks like this only happen once in a lifetime. Ralph Wilson Park will rank among the best parks in the country and have a profound impact on neighborhoods, and generations of Detroiters will gather together here and make memories that last a lifetime.”

The Detroit Riverwalk has been named the best riverwalk in America by USA TODAY two years in a row. The riverfront has generated more than $2 billion in public and private investment.

“Ralph Wilson Park will be a magnet that brings our community together,” said President & CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy Mark Wallace. “The best places in Detroit are those places where everyone feels welcome. Everyone who comes to Ralph Wilson Park will find a special place where they can express themselves and make memories.”

On Tuesday, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and partners broke ground on the west Riverfront project. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park, which is 22 acres, will be transformed into an attractive public space with reconstruction that will work towards the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s goal of revitalizing the riverfront.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital Producer and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.