Reader’s Letter: Forget Riverfront Canopy, Fix Jackson Park Carcass

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I am writing to express my vehement opposition to the proposed Riverfront Festival Plaza marquee project.

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As a music artist and educator working in this city and in Detroit, in my opinion this project is out of touch with Windsor’s rich history and current residents, especially the city’s artists and musicians whom this project could supposedly benefit. .

Windsor’s rich history of music and the arts stems in large part from its border with one of the world’s most important music cities – Detroit.

This story is not actively promoted by the city as evidenced by the historic Jackson Park band shell that rotted away from the public. The shell hosted such luminaries as Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as musicians such as Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and The Temptations.

It was home to massive Emancipation Day celebrations that drew thousands of people from across North America. The concha de banda should be a sacred site in our city.

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The proposed canopy was designed by a Toronto company. Why not choose a local company? How could anyone from Toronto be expected to know anything about our city? If someone from the area had designed the canopy, then at least there would be a reasonable argument that they cared about this city and had a vision of what they thought would be best.

How can we trust the city to build this massive structure and complex grounds and then allocate the necessary funds year after year to maintain it? Or will it also rot over time like the band shell?

If the city really wants to do something great and promote our history, then fix the Jackson Park shell. Host a Motown-style music festival and let the people of this city hear from great Detroit artists they haven’t been able to hear for nearly two years with Windsor bands also on the list.

Arrange the shell so that Emancipation Day celebrations can take place there once more. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on that stage and spoke, can you think of anything more powerful than that?

Russell A. Macklem, Windsor

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