Telegram - Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

River Rouge Planning to Celebrate Centenary All Year Long


With the coming of warm weather, city leaders in River Rouge are announcing upcoming events for the summer season to help observe the city's centenary, or 100th birthday. The 100-year celebration comes at a time people are eager to get out and socialize in their communities after being sheltered at home for two years during the pandemic. An informal committee of city leaders which includes Commissioner Patty Campbell and Director of Community Development Karl Laub, has been formulating new events and tweaking regularly scheduled events held each summer season to find how a centenary twist can be added to each. "The splash park will be opening back up. There's so much going on that everybody's getting geeked up for the summer," says Campbell. "But I don't know if people are getting geeked up for the summer or getting geeked up to be back together."

The unofficial start of summer each year is Memorial Day and this year the Annual Memorial Day Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 28 at Memorial Park. The ceremony will begin at noon and attendees will then proceed to the Pine Street and Jefferson War Memorial. Everyone is welcome to attend and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Some annual summer activities had been on hold since 2020 but this year many of those events are back thanks to a greater understanding of COVID-19 and preventing its spread, and the increasing number of residents receiving vaccinations and booster shots. "The pandemic gave me a chance to look at people and make sure I wasn't just giving to give. I started seeing a different appreciation of family values and I saw people starting to learn to have to talk to each other," Campbell says. "If nothing else that we've learned as a society behind the pandemic, we're stronger when we work together, there's a lasting of great memories when we work together. The things that the pandemic gave us should be, in my opinion, the building blocks of where we're going in the future. I curse the pandemic for the inconvenience, but I thank God for the pandemic for what I took out of it."

Back in River Rouge this year will be Chalk on the Avenue, a free event which promotes creativity in youth and adults alike. The event will be held from Monday, May 30 through Friday, June 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Water and snacks will be available for participants. Donations of sidewalk chalk are appreciated; contact Patty Campbell at 313-310-5386.

Also back this year is the city's Annual City Wide Clean Up which will take place on Saturday, June 4 beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers should bring work gloves, shovels, and rakes and meet at city hall, 10600 W. Jefferson Avenue. Lunch will be provided and work should wrap up by 1:00 p.m. Donations and supplies are welcome, contact Mayor Bowdler's office at 313-842-4200 for more details.

Campbell and Laub agree the community is coming to life again after a long shut-down.

"When I look at River Rouge for this 100 years, I'd like to think that the things those people said about the reason they [originally] wanted to live here, and they wanted to raise their families here, and the reason they wanted their city to grow, I'd like to think that the group of people that are here now are still saying 'I want to live here, I want to grow here, and I still want to see the city grow,'" says Campbell.. "Hopefully, our goal is at the end of this we'll be saying there's 100 things we are loving about River Rouge in 2022 and that's only the tip of the iceberg."

To stay informed of city-wide centenary celebrations check the city's website at and the city's Facebook page at


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