What’s new in Detroit’s New Center


In Detroit’s New Center, the end of one era is bringing the start of another.

The 21-year-old Cityfest has been canceled, and the neighborhood that surrounds the Fisher Building is focusing on the reopening of its New Center Park.

In the late 1980s, New Center Park was a weekday concert venue. But the New Center council ended the lunch- and dinner-hour performances formerly held at that site to focus on Cityfest, its popular five-day July 4 weekend event. Now, the green space at West Grand Boulevard and Second is open and ready to host more than music. The half-acre site has a decorative perimeter fence, brick patio and stage, and an 880-square-foot glass conservatory.

Plans for the park include Wednesday-night movies, happy-hour jazz on Thursdays, rock on Fridays, children’s activities on Saturdays, Camp Hi-Fi on Saturday nights, and a Sunday Harvest Market.

The park is also available for rental. Further renovations are coming, the council says. They include a permanent roof for the stage, food-and-beverage equipment, and a movie screen.

The idea of ongoing activities is what prompted the decision to forgo Cityfest. “We believe our neighborhood will benefit more from a year-round, event-driven park that holds 700, than a five-day mega-festival,” New Center Council President Michael Solaka says. “Of course, we’re proud of Cityfest, and will miss it like the rest of the metro area. Once we have the park dialed in, we may revisit whether a large event the scale of Cityfest advances our core mission.”

United Way for Southeast Michigan, the Kresge Foundation, and other major sources, including the Cityfest itself, helped fund the New Center Park.

Park hours: 8 a.m.–9 p.m. (summer), 9 a.m.–6 p.m. (winter).