Huron River Renaissance Launched in Michigan by Business and Community Leaders

RiverUp! project launched to fix up recreation infrastructure, clean up areas in need of restoration, and build up destination spots that bring people to the riverfront.

08-16-2011 // Andy Buchsbaum

August 16, 2011 – At an event in Island Park, Ann Arbor, a diverse and powerful coalition of business and community leaders today launched RiverUp!, an ambitious project to rejuvenate the Huron River and the economies of the communities that depend on it.

  • Read more on the RiverUp revitalization project! (pdf)

    The initative to rejuvinating the Huron River and its environs began when Congressman John Dingell sounded the call to spark a river renaissance, and is being led by a strong group of leaders in the community and experts in ecology and sustainability.

"I remember when we all gathered together months ago at the observation deck of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the Huron River,” said Congressman John Dingell. “Today it is my distinct honor to join this group of leaders to formally launch RiverUp!, an effort to turn the face of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and other communities back toward the glorious Huron River, to restore the river and revitalize our cities."

The RiverUp! coalition today unveiled plans for improved portages, river cleanups, and restoration of key locations in river, including:

  • Superior Dam Portage: The initiative has already begun improvements for the portage.  Construction plans are finalized, the necessary permits have been obtained, and private donors are funding construction. 
  • Angstrom property greenway: RiverUp! is working with Angstrom (formerly the Ford Visteon plant) to connect Ford Lake to the biking/walking trail in Ypsilanti along the Huron River as it flows under I-94. Using private funding, the project is developing a construction plan. Angstrom is a full partner in the project.
  • Huron River Water Trail: This project, begun by the Huron River Watershed Council, would make the river a major recreation attraction by enabling paddlers, bicyclists and others to travel the length of the river, stopping at local establishments for lodging, dining, and cultural attractions.

“The Huron River is a wonderful place for walking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and other recreation,” said Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje at today’s event. “But we’d like to see it be even more, a place for music and art and even a restaurant  facing the river.  It is time for our communities to turn their face to the river, our greatest natural feature.”

Also speaking at the event were Jerry Jung, chairman of the board of the Michigan Department of Transportation and a supporter of RiverUp!; Tom Woiwode, Greenways Director of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan and one of RiverUp!’s major funders;  Tom Buhr, river conservation expert with over fifty years experience on the Huron; and Laura Rubin, Executive Director of the Huron River Watershed Council.

The Huron River Watershed Council provided maps at the event detailing planned projects for RiverUp!

The core of the RiverUp! coalition is a group of 75 business and community leaders called the Wolfpack that is associated with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office in Ann Arbor and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. Responding to a call from Congressman John Dingell to help him rejuvenate the Huron River, the Wolfpack joined with the Huron River Watershed Council to develop the RiverUp! plan – Cleanup! Fixup! Buildup! – fund it, and take it to action.

RiverUp! is coordinated by the Huron River Watershed Council, the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Office, and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

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