DETROIT — The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy released details this week on several new initiatives that will be bringing new activity to the Detroit Riverfront in 2008.
New to the riverfront this summer will be the RiverWalk Café, with locations at Rivard Plaza and Pavilion and Gabriel Richard Park Plaza and Pavilion. The Conservancy is partnering with Diamond Hospitality LLC, a Detroit based food service company, to manage the RiverWalk Café, which will offer a variety of menu options including salads, sandwiches and specialty offerings representative of Detroit’s rich food culture.
The RiverWalk Café at Rivard Plaza will open for business on Friday, May 2 at noon and regular hours at the Rivard Plaza location will be 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. on Friday; 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. through 8 p.m. on Sunday. The Gabriel Richard Park Plaza location will offer limited hours, primarily on weekends and special occasions.
Also opening at Rivard Plaza on May 2 will be Wheelhouse Detroit, a new bike rental and service shop. Wheelhouse Detroit will offer hourly and daily rental packages, as well as bike service, bike accessories sales and tours.
“After opening more than 75 percent of the East Riverfront to the public last year, it was our goal at the Conservancy to continue to work to engage the public and present more opportunities for use of the Riverfront,” said Faye Alexander Nelson, President & CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “We are pleased to be working with both of these great partners — Diamond Hospitality and Wheelhouse Detroit — to be able to do just that through the RiverWalk Café and Wheelhouse Detroit bike rentals.”
More community engagement opportunities will be found this summer through the Conservancy’s 2008 programming schedule. Along with larger signature programs including Red Bull Air Races (May 31-June1) and GM River Days (June 20-23), the Conservancy has developed a calendar of smaller, more focused programs that will happen on the riverfront from May through October.
Key partners in the Riverfront programming initiative include the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which will be offering cultural programming; the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon, which will be using sections of the riverfront to promote the race; Wayne County Department of Parks and Recreation, bringing some of the department’s summer programs to the Riverfront; the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and the Detroit Medical Center, both offering various fitness and health programs; and Canine to Five, a Detroit based dog daycare company that will be hosting a bi-weekly dog walking club.
“Thanks to our programming partners, it will be an active and exciting spring, summer and fall on the Riverfront,” said Matt Cullen, co-chair of the Conservancy Board of Directors and General Manager, General Motors Corporation Economic Development & Enterprise Services. “The wide variety of programs will bring the community from near and far to experience Detroit’s new Riverfront in a whole new way.”
The Conservancy also reported on its ongoing $140 million capital campaign.
To date, the Conservancy has raised close to $95 million, which supports the construction as well as the long term operations and maintenance of the Riverfront.
As part of this campaign, private naming opportunities are available. The Conservancy announced that the first gift of this kind has been confirmed and the River Carousel at Rivard Plaza and Pavilion will be named the Cullen Family Carousel in honor of Conservancy board co-chair Matthew Cullen and his family.
The carousel will also open to the public on Friday, May 2.
A full calendar of events will be available on the Conservancy’s Web site at www.detroitriverfront.org.