Detroit Riverfront Conservancy gets $1M for project

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A $1 million gift to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will create a new entertainment destination along the Dequindre Cut Greenway, in memory of former McGregor Fund President C. David Campbell.

Aalong the Dequindre Cut. A new destination will appear along the Dequindre Cut Greenway next year, a gift to the people of Detroit in memory of former McGregor Fund President C. David Campbell.

The project will consist of a covered structure and small-scale performance setting with seating, a flexible stage and accommodation for food and equipment trucks, along the 1.5-mile public greenway managed by the conservancy.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016, with a dedication planned for fall.

On June 10, the McGregor Fund's board of directors approved $1 million in grants to the Conservancy to fund the project in memory of Campbell, a widely admired leader in the region's nonprofit community for more than 20 years.

Former McGregor Fund President C. David Campbell

McGregor Fund staff members first approached the Conservancy in late 2014 to explore a possible commission in memory of Campbell, McGregor officials said.

McGregor Fund President Kate Levin Markel said the goal of the project is to create a space that celebrates the life and work of Campbell, for the public to use and enjoy.

"The proposed project speaks to many of Dave's fine qualities: an appreciation for the natural world within an urban setting, a curiosity about people from all walks of life, a fondness for Detroit and Detroiters, a broad taste in the arts, a healthy sense of fun, and an understanding of how attractive public spaces bring diverse people together and foster a sense of community," Markel said.

Campbell was also a founding board member of the Conservancy, serving from 2003 until his passing in July 2014.

With the completion of a half-mile extension from Gratiot to Mack Avenue, currently under construction, the Dequindre Cut will link to other greenways under development and connect the riverfront to Midtown and Hamtramck.

The McGregor Fund is a private foundation organized "to relieve the misfortunes and promote the well-being of mankind."

It was established in 1925 by a $5,000 deed of gift from Tracy W. McGregor and later augmented to nearly $10 million through subsequent gifts from Mr. McGregor and his wife, Katherine Whitney McGregor.

To date, the Fund has provided nearly $235 million in grants to organizations throughout metropolitan Detroit and the tri-county area focused on human services, education, health care, arts and culture, and public benefit.