Five communities along the Woodward Avenue corridor will receive $57,000 in grants from the Woodward Avenue Action Association to improve the aesthetics along Michigan's oldest highway.
These grants, funded by $60,000 from the federal National Scenic Byway, will help create a number of enhancements along the corridor, ranging from new gateway signs to creating a Woodward Tour School. Woodward earned its designation as National Scenic Byway in 2002. It's one of three National Scenic Byways in Michigan and the only one in one of the state's major metro areas.
"This is a great example of how the America's Byway designation provides funding to help communities implement projects they otherwise may not be able to do alone," says Heather Carmona, executive director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association.
Among the recipients of the grants are the cities of Pontiac, Ferndale and Highland Park. The organizations of the Preservation Wayne and Model T Automotive Heritage Complex also received grants out of 10 total institutions that applied for them this year.
Preservation Wayne, Detroit's oldest and largest preservation society, will use its $15,000 grant to create the Woodward Tour School. The group has won awards for its tours highlighting Detroit's history. The tour school will help extend the society's reach up along the Woodward corridor's 27 miles into Oakland County.
"The mini-grants have allowed Preservation Wayne to look beyond our primary program area of Detroit and Wayne County, to enhance the connectivity between Woodward communities to enhance the cultural tourism capacity," says Francis Grunow, director of Preservation Wayne.
Highland Park received $15,000 to install new trash receptacles along its stretch of Woodward and make community banners over the highway. Pontiac, where Woodward ends, will use its $12,000 to create a welcome/gateway sign on Woodward. Ferndale is using its $10,000 to help construct the first of its Woodward Tribute Sculptures.
The Model T Automotive Heritage Complex will use its $5,000 grant to help make signage at the historic Piquette Plant in Detroit's New Center neighborhood. The plant, which made the first Model Ts, has been turned into an automotive museum.
The city of Berkley and Detroit's University Cultural Center Association received $20,000 in grants last year for crosswalk and greenway improvements, respectively. Woodward Avenue Action Association is working to raise more funds through corporate contributions and events to continue the program next year. For information, call (248) 288-2004.
Source: Heather Carmona, executive director of the Woodward Avenue Action Association
Writer: Jon Zemke