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Tri-Centennial State Park Opens

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Detroit park brings fresh perspective to riverfront

May 21, 2004



Michigan's first urban state park, a project supporters say will be key to revitalizing the city's rundown industrial riverfront, opened Thursday.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director K.L. Cool rode into the new Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor on a DNR patrol boat and cut the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the park.

"I'm so thrilled that the city of Detroit has got this oasis," Granholm said, speaking before a cheering crowd.

The state's 97th state park is centered on the former site of St. Aubin Marina. When all phases are complete, it will stretch 31 acres along the riverfront.

It includes a 60-foot working replica of the lighthouse at Tawas Point State Park in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

Future developments will include a fishing pond, a demonstration wetland, fishing piers along the riverfront and the addition of a former DNR fisheries research vessel for educational activities.

City and state officials view the park as part of a broader initiative to revitalize Detroit's dilapidated riverfront.

The project, spearheaded by the nonprofit Riverfront Conservancy, is expected to extend three miles along the river and include a promenade, housing, restaurants and stores.

Much of the first stage of the $500-million project is slated to be finished in time for the 2006 Super Bowl.

Cool said the project falls neatly into Granholm's "Cool Cities" initiatives, which aims at attracting more young professionals to a state where officials complain many have fled in search of other opportunities.

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