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Vacant Detroit Building to Become Outdoors Simulation Station for Michigan DNR

An model of what the exterior might look like. Image courtesy Michigan DNR

A natural landscape, when left to fare on its own, holds up pretty well against degeneration and even welcomes new greenery and growth. But an industrial building does not age so well. In the spirit of regrowth and regeneration, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking over the derelict, but historic, Globe Building in Detroit and transforming it into an adventure and education center for youth and adult outdoor enthusiasts.

On Saturday, October 6, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder officially launched the remake of the Globe, projected to cost about $12.8 million dollars upon completion.

Within view of the iconic Renaissance Center, the headquarters of General Motors, the Globe building on the riverfront will be a center for residents to try new kinds of outdoor recreation through simulated experiences. There will be opportunities to simulate fishing for salmon in the Great Lakes, rock climbing, kayaking, archery and more. All the activities at this point are tentative while the DNR finalizes plans and appropriates space.

“As far as we know, there is nothing like it in other states,” said Vicki Anthes, planning section chief for the Parks and Recreation Division of the DNR. “We believe that what we’re building is unique since it will embed a lot of natural and culture resource education within. While enjoying a kayaking experience, users also have opportunities to learn about clean water and about being a good steward and what makes  a river healthy.”

A concept sketch of the Globe Building’s interior. Image courtesy Michigan DNR

Free of cost to the user, this center targets an area with a large population in the state of Michigan and is meant to act as a launch pad to get people outdoors into the real thing. Anthes hopes people will leave saying, “I felt good doing that, I felt comfortable doing that,” then the DNR will be on site with flyers and informational literature about where they can go experience that for real.

The Globe Building formerly housed the Detroit Dry Dock Engine Works notable for a young worker who apprenticed there as a machinist, Henry Ford. The building already meets the Dequindre Cut, a greenway biking and walking trail that runs north to the Eastern Market district and faces directly the Milliken State Park which is also owned and operated by Parks and Recreation as a wetland complex and recreation area.

Anthes hopes the project will open to the public by December 2013 or early 2014.

Image courtesy of Vicki Anthes / Parks and Recreation Division of the DNR

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