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Plans Announced to Redevelop the W. I. Meyers Nursery

Mayor’s Chief of Staff Darchelle Strickland-Love and the Greening of Detroit today announced plans to redevelop the W.I. Meyers Nursery at Rouge Park that will include the operations and management of a parcel of land on the city’s west side.

Founded in 1920, this parcel of land was initially donated to the City and was used to grow trees for Detroit. At its height in the late ’30s, more than 1,000 men were employed through the FDR Works Program to install tiles and water systems for the trees. The nursery operations began to fade in the late ’50s and ’60s as nurseries throughout the state began providing stock at a faster cheaper rate. The Meyers Nursery has been underutilized for decades and is perfectly suited for growing a wide variety of shade, ornamental and evergreen trees due to its rich, loamy soils within the floodplain of the Rouge River. The partnership’s main goal in re-developing the nursery is to ensure that this asset is used productively for the benefit of the citizens of the city of Detroit. Once renovations are complete W.I. Nursery will:

  • Provide a reliable source of locally grown trees for use in community planting projects
  • Provide a training site for The Greening’s Workforce Development Program, providing green job training for Detroiters
  • Provide a site for The Greening of Detroit’s Environmental Education Programs, giving youth and adults an opportunity to explore nature through tours and workshops

The goals for this partnership include providing Detroiters with an efficient, cost- effective means to reforest the city, train 100 Detroiters each year in nursery craft as a component of The Greening’s green industries workforce development program and plant 20,000 young trees in the first eight years, growing them for three to five years before planting them in Detroit public spaces.

“This partnership proves to be a winning situation for both the City of Detroit and the Greening of Detroit,” said Mayor Cockrel. “Ensuring that we live in a green friendly city is one of my top priorities as Mayor and the Greening of Detroit’s commitment to assist will help progress our efforts.”

As the City works to continue the removal of thousands of public trees along city streets and in city parks that have been lost due to the Emerald Ash Borer, The Greening has partnered with the City to assist in the reforestation efforts. Growing trees locally offers a cost-effective method of planting to make it affordable to replace trees immediately. In addition to cost effectiveness, trees that are grown locally are already adapted to native climates and soils and survivability rate when transplanted are greater.

“The re-development of Meyers Nursery is a perfect example of the positive things that are happening in Detroit right now,” said Rebecca Salminen Witt, President of The Greening of Detroit. “This nursery will do more than grow trees; it will provide Detroit residents with the education and skills to learn how they can grow a healthy community.”

The Greening of Detroit is a non-profit organization working to grow a ‘greener’ Detroit through planting and educational programs, environmental leadership, advocacy, and by building community capacity.