Mayor, City partners officially dedicate newly expanded neighborhood park after late community leader Antonio McDuffy

Mayor, City partners officially dedicate newly expanded neighborhood park after late community leader Antonio McDuffy

  • McDuffy was beloved resident and champion of Piety Hill neighborhood who passed away in 2019
  • Project is partnership between City, Project EverGreen, Rocket Community Fund and others
  • Park will double in size when construction is completed later this year
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The last 30 days have seen a lot of activity at the corner of W. Philadelphia St. and Third Avenue. Located in the city’s New Center Historic District, the park (formerly Philadelphia Park) serves as an important community gathering space for residents of the Piety Hill neighborhood. It was officially re-named for Tony McDuffy, a beloved neighborhood resident who was a tireless advocate for the community. Mayor Mike Duggan and City of Detroit partners dedicated McDuffy Park on July 21 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

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"I can't think of a better way to honor Antonio McDuffy's legacy in the Piety Hill neighborhood than to dedicate this beautiful new park in his name," said Mayor Duggan. "The project is a perfect example of what Antonio stood for, which was the community coming together to create something special that will benefit this neighborhood for generations to come.  We are all deeply grateful to Project EverGreen and the Rocket Community Fund for their partnership in making this day possible."

Tony McDuffy served as deputy director for Central Christian Detroit Community Development Corporation for 25 years and was a beloved member of the community who had a deep connection with families. Everyone knew him and he was everyone’s “Uncle” or “Dad”. In his honor, the City aims to sustain community connection and promote and improve the health and well-being of residents through parks and public green spaces.

“I am elated that my late husband is being honored with the renaming Philadelphia Park to Tony McDuffy Park," said Wendy McDuffy. “First and foremost, he loved God and his family. But he loved the community. He had two daughters but he also gained 10,000 children in his 25-year career.”

A new 1/8-mile concrete walkway, inclusive playground, picnic tables, grills, bike racks, benches, and a horseshoe pit were part of the nearly $300,000 project that will double the size of the park to about 1.5 acres. Additionally, the planting of new trees will provide needed shade and cooling in the heat of the summer, and a new open grass play area was also completed.

A boost to the health and well-being of the neighborhood, green spaces, such as parks, playgrounds, playing fields, and community gardens, are the ‘lungs of a city.’ They also raise home values and serve as a catalyst for future development.

The Antonio McDuffy Park project is a collaborative effort between local business and civic organizations, neighborhood residents, Mayor Duggan’s office, and Project EverGreen, a national non-profit that is dedicated to renovating and revitalizing urban green spaces to create greener, healthier cooler parks that capture carbon and result in cleaner air. The makeover aligns with Mayor Duggan’s progressive ongoing initiative to renovate the city’s smaller parks hoping to reduce blight and restore community pride.

The Rocket Community Fund provided a $280,000 grant to Project EverGreen – the largest donation received to date by the national nonprofit – to support the renovation.

“We know the importance of inclusive, vibrant public spaces, now more than ever,” said Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund. “Our partnership to develop Antonio McDuffy Park will unlock a new space where residents can come together safely and build strong social bonds that will support the resiliency of the entire city. We are proud to have worked closely with local leadership, partners, and residents to envision and execute together.”

Additional sponsors and supporters of the project include Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan; Magna/Magna Seating; Premier Group Associates; PEA Group; The Davey Tree Expert Co.; Central Detroit Christian CDC; and Re-Tree, LLC.

“Parks play a vital role in the health and well-being of youth and adults alike, a fact never more evident than during the pandemic. Connecting people to their parks enhances social well-being, relationships, safety, and environmental health,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “Together with Rocket Community Fund’s generous grant and in collaboration with the City of Detroit, local businesses, and the residents of Piety Hill, we can create a healthy, thriving park for generations to come.”

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Project EverGreen and the Rocket Community Fund plan to work with the City to identify additional park renovation projects in 2021 and beyond.