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May 10, 2012
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Kid-designed Detroit RiverFront Playpark officially opens

School kids celebrated the ceremonial opening of the Detroit RiverFront Playpark near Rivard Plaza and Pavilion on Thursday.

Children from Friends School in Detroit and nearby neighborhoods helped design the playscape last year. Community and civic leaders interpreted the children's designs and selected innovative playground equipment supplied by the national nonprofit KaBOOM!

The new playpark is adjacent to Rivard Plaza and Pavilion and the William G. Milliken State Park. Its addition to the riverfront complements existing amenities including a carousel and now-3.5-mile riverwalk that stretches to the 982-acre city park, Belle Isle, in the Detroit River between the U.S. and Canada.

The revitalized riverfront has become a destination in downtown Detroit and attracts thousands of local families and visitors year round. 

The Kresge Foundation’s Detroit Program provided $75,000 for the playpark as part of its focus on investing in neighborhoods.

Other partners included Bank of America and the State of Michigan.

A series of Kresge grants totaling $50 million provided funding to create the Detroit RiverWalk (map)between 2002 and 2008. That initial investment helped build and maintain the walk. Continued investment in bicycle and walking paths has connected the RiverWalk to Detroit’s Eastern Market. Additional links will join the market area to the city’s cultural district.

Six of the children who helped design the new RiverFront Play Park in downtown Detroit cut a paper-chain ribbon to officially open the park for all kids. From left to right: Olivia Holt, 14, Otis Holt, 11, Connor Robinson, 8, Finn Owsley, 5, Logan Robinson, 6, and Loren Smith, 8.

Friends School students apply the "kid test" to the new playground equipment shortly after the official opening.

Detroit Edison Public School Academy third grader Lauren Collins, left, pushes her classmates Loren Adams, 9, top right, and Tori Bates, 8, bottom, back and forth on a spring ride.

Detroit Edison Public School Academy student Kevin Chisolm, 9, shows how play can be hard work.