A few years ago the Mower Gang was trying to keep the grass cut in O’Shea Park near I-96 and Greenfield. It was one of many Detroit parks that has fallen in to disrepair and was decommissioned in 2011.
Today the park has a new life that will help revitalize the neighborhood, bring in jobs to residents and dollars to the city, deliver clean energy and teach kids about sustainability and renewable energy.
The Detroit City Council has approved DTE Energy’s plan to develop one of the largest urban solar power arrays in the country on a 10-acres of vacant at the former O’Shea Park. Construction is scheduled to being in May and be completed by the end of the year. The project will generate more than $1 million in tax revenue for the city over the life of the 20-year lease and will produce enough clean energy to power approximately 450 homes.
“DTE Energy is proud to be a partner with the City of Detroit on this solar project that will utilize 10 acres of Detroit’s blighted and unused land and re-energize the surrounding neighborhoods,” says David Meador, vice chairman and chief administrative officer, DTE Energy. “Not only will this new solar array enable DTE to deliver more clean energy to our customers, it is also a part of our efforts to help spur economic growth and prosperity in the neighborhoods we serve.”
DTE has committed to invest more than $1 billion over the next 10 years to modernize Detroit’s energy grid.
“This partnership with DTE Energy is a perfect example of how public-private partnerships can stabilize and strengthen our neighborhoods,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “This vacant property soon will be put back to use in a way that is good for the neighborhood and good for the environment.”
There will also be workforce development opportunities for residents of the O’Shea Park community thanks to support from the Erb Family Foundation that enabled a partnership with the Greening of Detroit on the park design.
Free energy audits will be provided by Detroit-based Walker-Miller Energy Services for those who live in the immediate area. Many could qualify for free furnace and appliance replacements and other money-saving upgrades.
In addition, students will be able to learn more about sustainability and renewable energy through interpretive signage, rain gardens, and additional educational partnerships.
The solar project joins four others under development, one in Ypsilanti, one at the GM Warren Transmission plant, and two large-scale projects in Lapeer. By the end of the year, DTE will have 31 solar arrays in operation capable of generating enough clean energy to power more than 14,000 homes.
– Feature picture from DTE Energy