DTE Energy, alongside the City of Detroit, celebrated the grand re-opening of O’Shea Park on Saturday after a huge renovation to the original site. The community event featured hands-on renewable energy activities as well as a petting zoo, face painting, balloons, arts-n-crafts, and a double-dutch jump roping demonstration. Members of our renewable energy team were also on hand to give tours of our O’Shea Solar Park and the pollinator species planted underneath it.
“We are pleased to have played a role in the revitalization of O’Shea Park. Not only is this good for the neighborhood, it is helping us meet our goal to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2040,” said Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO, DTE. “Companies like ours have a responsibility to help strengthen our communities. The partnership we developed with the City to create our solar park adjacent to the renovated park is doing that.”
The park is home to one of the largest urban solar parks in the region, O’Shea, which was commissioned in July 2017. The solar park’s 7,400 panels produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 450 homes with clean energy. O’Shea is one of two solar parks included in MIGreenPower, DTE’s voluntary renewable energy program that helps interested customers reduce their carbon footprint. The project will generate more than $1 million in tax revenue for the city.
O’Shea Solar Park generates more than electricity – it also is home to an urban pollinator garden between the rows of solar panels. The pollinator garden utilizes Michigan native plants, and are chosen specifically to benefit bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and other pollinators in the area. The pollinator garden at O’Shea Solar Park is one of 33 managed by our company.
“The pollinator population, which is critical to our food, air and water supply, has declined by more than 80% since the mid-1990s,” said Kristen LeForce, staff engineer, Environmental Management & Resources and our company’s resident biologist. “Every pollinator project helps protect pollinators and this not only good for the environment, it’s good for our company because it keeps maintenance costs down.”
Other renovations at the 20-acre O’Shea park include a bioretention garden, resurfaced basketball courts, walking paths, play fields, a community gathering space with seating, new trees and native flower beds.
“A few years ago, O’Shea was one of many large vacant areas in the city, with an abandoned, blighted recreation center and largely unused park that were a drain on the surrounding neighborhood,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Now, thanks to Gerry Anderson and our partners at DTE, we’ve built a beautiful 20-acre park, with recreation space for residents and a solar park, putting this vacant land back to productive use in a way that improves the neighborhood.”