A cloudy day could not dampen the spirits of people gathered for the official opening of Downtown Detroit’s newest garden, Lafayette Greens. Visitors were treated to the music of Lac La Belle and appetizers grown mostly at the garden. The garden covers about three-quarters of an acre and grows fruits, vegetables and herbs.
The sponsor of the new garden, Compuware Corporation, turned a vacant lot on W. Lafayette and Shelby into this urban garden and relaxing green space in Downtown. Compuware hasmade arraignments with Gleaners Community Food Bank to give the food bank the fresh produce that is grown at the garden.
For Peter Karmanos, Jr., the executive chairman and founder of Compuware, today’s celebration was significant. Not only is he a master gardener, the volunteer effort made by Compuware employees shows they understand the culture of giving back to the community hehas tried to build.
“A sense of community is embedded in Compuware’s culture,” he said. “We believe, as this place shows it is vital for our employees to be active and creative members of their communities. Lafayette Greens brings together this point through two great passions of mine, gardening and the City of Detroit.”
An appreciative Detroit Mayor Dave Bing noted that Karmanos has done quite a bit to demonstrate his passion for the city from building the Compuware headquarters in Detroit when it was not a popular business destination to the dedication of the garden.
“He’s one of those leaders in our city who doesn’t just talk a good game, he puts his money where his mouth is,” said Bing.
This commitment is also good for Gleaners. Last month alone, more than 900,000 pounds of fresh produce was grown specifically for the food bank and they stand to receive even more from Lafayette Greens.
WDIV news anchor and Master of Ceremonies for the event, Devin Scillian, said he has watched the transition of the corner of Lafayette and Shelby evolve from a vacant building with a tree growing on the roof to a garden where trees are a purposeful part of the design.
“For those of you who remember the building this replaces, there was a tree growing out of the top of the building. Today, there are trees that we want all around us,” observed Scillian.