William G. Milliken State Park - Site #48

Detroit, Michigan


Project Goals and Objectives: Demonstrate innovative stormwater management and restore aquatic habitat

Project Description: An innovative stormwater retention basin was created that treated runoff from adjacent neighborhood and shoreline habitat was restored using soft engineering techniques. As the first urban park in Michigan, William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor (formerly Tri-Centennial Park) offers 31 acres carved out on the banks of the Detroit River offers a green oasis in the midst of downtown Detroit.

The first phase of the park - the harbor - was opened to the public in 2004 and offers several covered picnic areas, shoreline fishing and a newly renovated 52-slip harbor. A 63-foot light tower marks the harbor entrance. It is a scaled-down replica of the recently-renovated lighthouse at Tawas Point State Park, originally built in 1876.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation began construction on the second phase of development at the park in Summer 2008. This phase includes a wetlands demonstration project, which shows how wetlands act as nature's water filtration system. Interpretative signs explain how the wetland naturally cleans the water and then returns it to the Detroit River as clean water - without going to a wastewater treatment plant.

The State officially opened the second phase of the park December 1, 2009.

The RiverWalk passes through the park in the area closest to the Detroit River, and a quiet, contemplative area with a memorial to Peter Stroh, a noted conservationist who, for 25 years, was a tireless advocate for the opening Detroit's waterfront to the public, is featured in part of the park. A bike path, with financial support from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), laces through the area on the other side of the wetland. Fishing platforms are available along the riverfront edge of the park.

Cost: $1 million

Timeframe: 2008-2009

Partners: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Ecological Effectiveness: No post-project monitoring of ecological effectiveness has been performed to date

Restoration Contact: Michigan Department of Natural Resources