Detroit Riverfront Conservancy CEO wins award

The Detroit Free Press has some nice behind-the-scenes coverage of Faye Alexander Nelson, CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy — the group responsible for the Detroit RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut.

Nelson speaks with pride and pleasure as she points out various attractions — the RiverWalk’s patio-pretty pavement dotted with parks, pavilions, play spaces and gardens; docking space for boats at Michigan’s first urban state park, and a paved trail that officially opened Thursday that allows people to go by foot, bike or Rollerblade from near the river to the Dequindre Cut, a former railroad track transformed into a nonmotorized trail.

It’s fitting that Nelson is at the helm of that bridge-to-bridge development. People who know her say she is indeed a bridge builder, uniting a diverse group of people behind the $300-million-plus project that is an undeniable bright spot in the issues-saddled city of Detroit.

“She has been a forceful and integral part of transforming Detroit’s riverfront into something spectacular,” said Hugh McDiarmid Jr., spokesman for the Michigan Environmental Council, which awarded Nelson the William and Helen Milliken Award for Distinguished Service on Wednesday.

And speaking of the RiverWalk, it’s home once again to the 2010 Detroit River Days event, which begins this Friday and runs through Sunday. River Days includes the Green Path (presented by Bank of America), which is numerous of environmental groups at Milliken State Park. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance (MTGA) has a booth where you can get the latest information on Detroit biking and walking news. You will also be able to register your support for a Complete Streets policy in the city of Detroit.

And River Days wraps up with one of the world’s largest fireworks displays at 10:06pm on Monday. Afterwards, vehicular traffic is at a standstill which means it’s a perfect to bike to. It seems many more Detroiters are biking to the fireworks each year, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s faster.

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