A. B. Ford Park and New Community Center


About the Project

Alfred B. Ford Park and the Lenox Center are loved places by the Detroit river in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood.

In 2020 the City of Detroit - General Services Department (GSD), kicked-off community engagement to improve A.B. Ford Park and design and build a new community center. Residents from Jefferson Chalmers, District 4 and across the city were asked to provide feedback that informed the design for the park and building. 

A.B. Ford Park is a 34-acre park on Detroit's east riverfront bounded by the Scripps St. to the north, Lakewood St. to the east and Lenox St. to the west. The site has a unique history including two Nike Missile towers (de-activated in the 1960s). Today, the park is well used by residents, fisherman and visitors throughout the year.

The Lenox Center is a community center at A.B. Ford Park. The building is a 5,600 sq. ft. facility completed in 1969 to serve residents with special needs. In 2013, the building closed due to a water main break. Through this project, a building assessment was completed. Click the link below to download and read -

The building assessment uncovered that the building sits in the proposed FEMA floodplain and it no longer meets current building codes. Although the project began as a renovation to the Lenox Center, it was determined that a new building was best suited for recreation and community activities of today and the future. 

The architecture firm Inform Studio was selected to assist with the building design for the new community center, and Jefferson East Inc. assisted with community engagement. This project is funded by the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF).


Community Engagement & Community Design Process

Engagement Process

Community Engagement

We kicked-off the project in May of 2020 (in the midst of a global pandemic) with a community wide survey. We received 172 responses with ideas for both the park and the Lenox Center. On June 30th we hosted the first virtual community meeting where we introduced the team. Every week between June 30th and December 8th we hosted virtual office hours to answer questions and share information as the project developed ( check out the Office Hours Report Outs). On August 5th, we shared the results of the survey and presented initial observations of the existing conditions of the park and center and during the August 19th office hours, we answer some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Check the links below for the presentations. 

On September 12th  2020, we hosted an in-person park event that asked residents for feedback on the building and park design, as well as priorities. The event was held at the park, following COVID precautions. The input collected during this event and the ongoing office hours shaped each of the designs. The rest of the fall and winter months were spent refining the design and documenting various community priorities. For more detailed information on each of the public events, please see the list below. 

For questions and/or information on the project, please contact Arianna Zannetti, Landscape Designer at [email protected] or by calling: 313-236-8805

    Community Meetings, Events and Presentations: 


    Office Hours Report Outs: