Downtown Detroit partnership elevates public space experience with refresh of The Beach at Campus Martius Park

Downtown Detroit partnership elevates public space experience with refresh of The Beach at Campus Martius Park
July 18, 2018 Michigan Chronicle

DDP awarded $125,000 grant by Southwest Airlines Foundation

and their Heart of the Community Program

The Beach at Campus Martius Park, Detroit’s favorite island oasis in the heart of Downtown, is undergoing a refresh thanks to a $125,000 grant awarded to the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) by the Southwest Airlines Foundation (SWAF), an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

DDP was chosen as one of five recipients across the U.S. to receive the grant as a part of SWAF’s Heart of the Community (HOTC) program which provides financial and technical assistance to partners bringing new life to public space. Since its inception in 2013, the Southwest Airlines HOTC, in partnership with the Project for Public Spaces, has awarded more than $3.6 million in grants with the mission of fostering connections in public space and in turn building resilient communities.

“Five years ago, Southwest Airlines played a key role in bringing the Beach to Campus Martius Park which has evolved into a central summer gathering place for Detroiters and visitors from all walks of life,” said Robert Gregory, DDP Chief Planning and Public Space Officer. “We are thrilled to once again have their support which will allow us to enhance the visitor experience at the Beach and ensure Campus Martius Park remains a world-class public space.”

Since its origin in 2014, the Beach has welcomed over five million visitors and become a signature feature of Campus Martius Park. The HOTC grant will allow DDP to enhance the wildly popular public space with new beach furniture and toys, games, lighting, landscaping, a beach attendant and programs that appeal to all ages.

New events will include beach-side beer and wine tastings and a program called Beach House: Summer Sounds from Around the World, where local DJs will spin from inside a retrofitted airstream trailer. Additional funds will be directed to support existing events like the Friday Beach Party featuring local Caribbean and Reggae bands.

Activity will expand from the Beach to the shaded southwest garden of Campus Martius Park where visitors will find newly implemented tabletop shuffleboard, ping-pong, giant Jenga and petanque.

As always park-goers can enjoy a fresh bite to eat or frozen cocktail from The Fountain Detroit which will soon offer a beach-side barbeque created by Executive Chef Jordan Hoffman of Parc, Hour Detroit’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year.

Evidence of public space enhancement by DDP can also be seen in Cadillac Square with the launch of a recycling pilot. The initiative aims to incentivize the 75 rotating Downtown Street Eats food trucks to use biodegradable materials and encourage the 2,500 weekly visitors to recycle in public spaces via two kiosks.

While the kiosks are not funded by the HOTC grant, they are another example of DDP’s efforts to innovate in public space and encourage sustainable behavior.

With each year driving more foot traffic Downtown, the amount of trash collected by the Downtown Business Improvement Zone nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017. The recycling pilot, which will be in place by early July, was created in response to a Downtown Detroit Perceptions Report, which revealed that 86 percent of respondents felt it is important to recycle in public spaces.


About Downtown Detroit Partnership

Downtown Detroit Partnership strengthens and supports Downtown Detroit through strategic initiatives and programs. DDP convenes business, philanthropic, and government partners to create a vibrant, resilient urban core for Detroit and the surrounding community. For more information, visit


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *