Southfield seeks to build Red Pole Park along Northwestern Highway Pathway and Greenway

In their continued efforts to entice and keep top talent, the city of Southfield is once more turning toward placemaking to make their city more attractive. And this time, they've partnered with Michigan Economic Development Corporation to help make it happen.

As part of the MEDC Public Spaces Community Places initiative, the city of Southfield is seeking to raise $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign. Should they prove successful by August 4, the MEDC will offer a $50,000 matching grant.

Southfield is raising funds for Red Pole Park, a public art installation to be situated along the new Northwestern Highway Pathway and Greenway. Terry Croad, Director of Planning for the City of Southfield, describes Red Pole Park as a sort of grove of trees re-imagined as abstract art. Tall poles, painted red, will be installed into the ground along the greenway.

Red Pole Park was designed by architectural firm Harley Ellis Devereaux.

"The intent is to create a series of outdoor rooms," says Croad. "We don't want the Greenway to be a passthrough but instead a destination in and of itself."

This is just the first of many upgrades to the Northwestern Highway Pathway and Greenway Croad hopes to enact this year. Also planned is a second installation, or room, rain gardens, public art murals, and improved landscaping.

As detailed in Metromode this past April, Croad and his team have been hard at work transforming Southfield from a city built for cars into a city built for people. An RFP was issued to take 8.15 acres in the city center and turn it into a more traditional downtown, with tighter, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and streetwalls filled with cafes and retail on the first floor and residential units on the floors above. That RFP was due April 21.

A bike share program is set to debut this July.

The Red Pole Park crowdfunding campaign is being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity crowdfunding platform.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.