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Detroit Policy Conference Mark Wallace

Creating a community along the Detroit riverfront has been an ever-evolving task for Mark Wallace, president and CEO for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. During a keynote address at the 2018 Detroit Policy Conference, Wallace discussed the numerous projects the Conservancy has accomplished in recent years as an anchor for Detroit’s economic revitalization.

Wallace said when the Conservancy was established, three promises were made to the city of Detroit: be a good steward for the community; create a world-class gathering place; and always be a place where everyone is welcome and respected. The third tenant is something Wallace takes personal pride in.

“If similar groups are gathering, there is no need for civility. It is the same people talking to each other about the same problems. There needs to be places where people who have different backgrounds and experiences can meet and interact,” Wallace said.

Wallace said the riverfront’s transformation is a positive example of what can happen when community and government leaders listen, adapt to, and create a space that people feel safe to visit. As a result, the riverfront has become one of the most popular attractions in metro Detroit.

“People are bringing their children down to the riverfront to create memories in the spaces we have created,” Wallace said.