Not long ago the Rouge River was considered an open sewer and a place to dump trash. After 29 years of working to clean up the Rouge people are enjoying the river for what it is - a beautiful oasis of natural beauty in the urban metro Detroit landscape. Nearly 30 years after Rouge Rescue began people are now canoeing the Rouge and recreating along its banks where the river meanders through parks and nature preserves as it makes its way from the suburbs to the Detroit River.
“Imagine what the Rouge River would like without Rouge Rescue,” said Cyndi Ross, Friends of the Rouge’s River Restoration Program Manager. The group reports 56,000 people have participated in Rouge Rescue since it began in 1986. An impressive amount of work was completed to improve the river. Over the years, volunteers removed:
People interested in lending a hand should check the website to select a work site and then show up prepared to get a little dirty, meet some new friends, and have fun while working to improve the river in their community. A free t-shirt will be provided to participants.
The Fort-Rouge Gateway (FRoG) Partnership, a coalition of nonprofit, community and industrial stakeholders, will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, May 20, 6 to 8 p.m. at UAW Local 600, 10550 Dix, Dearborn, MI 48120, to discuss proposed plans for a public access interpretive park to be located next to the new Fort Street Bridge over the Rouge River, near the site of the 1932 Hunger March. The proposed project has been submitted to the City of Detroit for rezoning approval, and the FRoG Partnership is actively seeking funding for the development of the park.
The public meeting will feature conceptual plans for the proposed Fort Street Bridge Park and opportunities for public discussion and input. In addition to sharing the plans and seeking the community’s feedback, the FRoG Partnership hopes to gain historical and cultural perspective on the significance of the site from community members.
Since its initial meeting in 2011, the FRoG Partnership has grown to include representatives of numerous community-based organizations, businesses, local governments, and nonprofits who are active in the Lower Rouge area, such as the Southwest Detroit Business Association, the Detroit Greenways Coalition, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, the Greening of Detroit, United Autoworkers Local 600, the Friends of the Rouge, Motor Cities National Heritage Area, the City of Dearborn, the Original United Citizens of Southwest Detroit, the Sierra Club, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, and Authority Health (formerly Detroit Wayne County Health Authority).
Since early 2013, monthly meetings have been held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, convened by Paul Draus, Professor of Sociology. “The rich cultural history of the communities along the lower Rouge River and the convergence of three proposed or existing greenway systems, provide a unique opportunity to achieve long-term community impact,” said Dr. Draus. “Eventually, the park will be a stop on the planned Rouge Water Trail from Canton to the Detroit River, and connection hub between Detroit Greenways, Downriver and Rouge Gateway Greenways.”
More information about the proposed park and the FRoG Partnership may be found at the following websites:
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