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Ford House Adds a Rain Garden to Park Project in Jefferson Chalmers
Posted: August 2, 2017
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is proud to be a partner in a new place-making project in a community park on Jefferson along the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park.
Ford House staff worked with local students to design a rain garden for the Fox Cree Park, which also recieved other landscaping and design improvements through a Detroit '67 Placemaking Project Grant.
With Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other officials on hand, “Fox Creek Park: Art Beyond Borders” was unveiled on Saturday, July 29, at the corner of Ashland and Jefferson. The collaborative project brought together seven different organizations including Jefferson East, Inc., the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and Ford House. The project is forging new relationships between Detroit and the Pointes.
Over the past six months, neighborhood youth active in the Jefferson Chalmers Youth Connection, a program led by Hope Community Outreach & Development, have participated in the planning and implementation of landscaping improvements to the park as well as several art installations including a custom-made mosaic of Pewabic tiles.
For Ford House’s part, we created a Rain Garden Design Challenge to add color and an eco-friendly element to the landscape of Fox Creek Park, located on the corner of Jefferson and Ashland in Detroit.
Ford House landscape and education staff worked with students from Grosse Pointe North High School, Grace Sexton and Petar Ristic, helping them to choose the right plants and create a design for a garden garden that will be beneficial to the landscape at Fox Creek Park. Rain gardens are planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses to help absorb runoff before it reaches waterways, percolating rain back through the soil and filtering out many contaminants.
With the students’ plans in place, Ford House will donate plant materials and staff time to work with the community to create the beautiful garden in Jefferson Chalmers this fall. The plants will include Spicebush, Bee Balm, Black Eyed Susan, Liatris, Cardinal Flower, Common/Swamp Milkweed, Nodding onion, Blue Flag Iris, Purple Coneflower, Turtlehead, Obedient Plant and Baptisia.
“We wanted to focus our efforts on finding a way to provide more opportunities for Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park residents to work together,” said Joshua Elling, executive director of Jefferson East, Inc. “By having a Detroit park serve as a connector, we hope to help achieve the vision of one big community versus two walled-off communities.”
“Fox Creek Park: Art Beyond Borders” is one of seven projects throughout the city selected by a community review panel to receive a Detroit 67 Placemaking Grant, funded by the PNC Foundation in partnership with Community Development Advocates of Detroit and the Detroit Historical Society. The placemaking project, which builds upon community-led efforts that began in 2006 to transform a vacant lot into a public park, highlights the Detroit 67 Project’s theme Looking Back to Move Forward through its reflection of the history of Detroit’s lower eastside as well as ways to improve safety and accessibility along the Jefferson Avenue corridor.
“The Fox Creek canals play such an important role in Detroit’s history and neighborhood fabric, including when Jefferson Chalmers and Grosse Pointe Park were once part of the Village of Fairview,” said Jennifer Reinhardt, Detroit preservation specialist for the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. “By using art as a bridge that can bring people together, our project both protects a vital community space and facilitates dialogue about the Detroit-Grosse Pointe border.”
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