Monday, October 26, 2015, by Rebecca Golden
Rendering via the City of Detroit. Chene-Ferry Market photo via Detroit Urbex
Standing outside the shell of an old Detroit farm market, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a plan today that promises to transform 22 blocks of blight on the east side into a massive urban farm. RecoveryPark, a 60-acre amalgamation of city-owned property (35 acres) and other land purchased for the project, will be home to a vast set of greenhouses and is expected to employ 120 people at the three-year mark.
The complex will include Chene-Ferry Market (pictured), an 1850s farmers market building that has been scrapped heavily and the victim of several recent fires. RecoveryPark plans to restore the building as the new farm’s distribution and operations hub. The farm will focus on employing people in recovery, veterans, and other individuals who might otherwise have difficulty finding work. The workers will also have opportunities to own businesses that are part of RecoveryPark, according to the farm’s CEO, Gary Wozniak.
The $15 million project expands existing urban farming at RecoveryPark. Local restaurants already rely on this uber-local produce, including Cuisine, Wright & Co., Stockyard, Southfield’s Bacco Ristorante (Southfield) and Streetside Seafood and The Stand in Birmingham). The new influx of cash comes with many stipulations. The city is leasing their portion of the newly acquired land, so eventually, 60% of workers at the farm must be Detroit-based. Within a year, Recovery Park has to demolish or rehabilitate any blighted buildings within the 60-acre footprint. If the park fails in any of its obligations, the city has the right to take back any of its land not occupied by greenhouse or hoop houses.
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