River Raisin battlefield park to begin construction in 2020

Associated Press
Toni Cooper, right, executive director of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park Foundation, reveals the upcoming plans for development of the River Raisin National Battlefield Park,as part of the Heritage Corridor investment as Chief Ted Roll, left, of the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation listens March 21, 2019 in Monroe, Mich.

Monroe – The River Raisin National Battlefield Park will begin most of the construction for the historic Michigan site’s estimated $100 million redevelopment next year.

Toni Cooper, executive of the national park’s foundation, recently unveiled details and a timeline for the roughly 10-year redevelopment project in Monroe. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and private partners are funding the project.

The first step is a $2 million upgrade to the education center located at the site of the Battle of Frenchtown, an important battle in the War of 1812, the Monroe News reported.

The new Battlefield Park Education and Regional Center will have its lobby area transformed into an educational space to commemorate battles and other historical events. Some of the new exhibits will teach visitors about Native American tribes fighting alongside British and Canadian soldiers in the 1800s, as well as how to build a wigwam.

The revamped center will also get a new welcome desk, a concession stand and a gift shop.

Cooper announced plans to spend roughly $2.5 million to build historically accurate barns, houses and a trading post in the recreation of Frenchtown. Construction is expected to start in 2020.

It follows a separate project that launched last year to purchase and take down 20 houses to make room for the recreation of the historic settlement.

The Wyandot of Anderdon Nation will also build a $10 million tribal center at the site, which will include a boardwalk for kayaking and fishing, an educational center and gardens.

“You’ll walk through time,” said Tribal Chief Ted Roll. “It’ll tell the story of native tribes, of the City of Gibraltar … This is the start of a really great thing.”