A forlorn park gets a fixup

Scenes from a city, beginning anew

williams-postcard

For months, Terry Williams and other neighborhood residents have been fenced out of their longtime oasis at Second and Selden in Detroit. Robert Redmond Memorial Park sits at a junction of the old, impoverished Cass Corridor and ascendant Midtown. Rumors flew that the plaza, which had benches, lights and a gazebo, was to be replaced, especially when the buzzy new restaurant, Selden Standard, arose next door with a menu featuring squid ink chittara and dark chocolate pot de crème. Yet William, 53, who dances for exercise on the corner, was heartened last week when workers showed up and began renovations.

Turns out Midtown Detroit Inc., a nonprofit development group that is helping to revitalize the area, is spending $250,000 to restore power, repair lights, trim trees, remove graffiti, reinstate fixtures and power-wash the park. Midtown Executive Director Sue Mosey says her organization will maintain Redmond, just as it maintains Peck Park near the College for Creative Studies. Getting the renovation going took more time than expected, Mosely adds, but it is scheduled to be finished by May. According to the blog Telling The Stories About Detroit’s Parks, the city-owned property is named after Robert Rene Redmond, a social worker and director of the local senior center, who was shot to death nearby in 1976 while trying to disarm a friend. The outgoing Williams says he can’t wait for the fences to come down. Listening to music through his headphones and often singing, Williams says he has gone from 317 to 263 pounds while “shaking my behind.” -- Bill McGraw

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Comments

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:01pm
So glad to read your article about Redmond Plaza. It has been closed too long as many people depend upon it as a gathering / stopping place. Kudos to the Detroit community and investment groups who realize that neighborhood parks, green spaces and meeting spaces are valuable and bring community together.
Mekkel Richards
Thu, 12/18/2014 - 1:13pm
I used to walk past that corner everyday. William never missed a chance to dance.
Jane Richardson
Mon, 12/22/2014 - 8:09am
Love the postcard from Detroit approach to raising up the good...and Telling the Stories about Parks is inspiring me to bring that to our Flint parks and open spaces work Thanks. jr
Piper Cass
Tue, 12/30/2014 - 11:51am
I love that you told his story! I have seen him rain or shine dancing away and he's got the moves!
K Snodgrass
Sat, 01/03/2015 - 8:03pm
The rest of the story is the group that comes to the park every Sat with trailers full of food and cooking gear and provides a hot meal for the neighborhood.