DBusiness Daily Update: City of Detroit Names New Greenway for Dennis Archer, Detroit Selected to Host Special Olympics World Soccer Event, and More

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
The new greenway connecting the Detroit Riverwalk to Vernor Highway has been named in honor of former mayor Dennis Archer. // Courtesy of City of Detroit
The new greenway connecting the Detroit Riverwalk to Vernor Highway has been named in honor of former mayor Dennis Archer. // Courtesy of City of Detroit

Our roundup of the latest news from metro Detroit and Michigan businesses as well as announcements from government agencies, including updates about the COVID-19 pandemic. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

City of Detroit Names New Greenway for Dennis Archer

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced Wednesday that the Detroit City Council has voted to name the new greenway connecting the Detroit Riverwalk to Vernor Highway in honor of former mayor Dennis Archer.

Construction of the greenway is slated be completed later this year. Archer served as mayor of Detroit from 1994-2001, and served on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1986-1990.

Ground was broken at the end of 2019 on initial phases of the greenway, which opened to the public last year. Construction began in October on the final phase, extending the greenway from East Jefferson to Robert Bradby Drive. The Mayor Dennis W. Archer Greenway provides pedestrian-friendly access to amenities in between McDougall and Chene streets and runs along the formerly vacated Joseph Campau Street between Jefferson and East Vernor Highway.

By the end of this year, the $4.9-million, 1.2-mile greenway will run from the Detroit Riverwalk to Vernor Highway, connecting more neighborhoods safely to Detroit’s internationally acclaimed riverfront.

“Mayor Archer deserves to be honored for what he has done for this city,” Duggan says. “Having this gem on the east side named for such a prominent east sider is the least we can do for such a tireless advocate and champion of Detroit. On behalf of all Detroiters, I want to thank him for his service to this city.”

The greenway will be managed by the city’s General Services Department and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

“I would like to thank Mayor Duggan and the City of Detroit,” Archer says. “I love this city, and to be recognized in this way is something I am incredibly proud of. This greenway, in many ways, is the continuation of the work we started two decades ago in improving the quality of life for Detroiters and bringing new life and vibrancy to our community. You may recall the first leg of what is now called the Riverwalk, stretching from Joe Louis Arena to Hart Plaza, was dedicated during the celebration of Detroit’s 300th birthday. To be associated with such a beautiful piece of the city’s continuing comeback is a great honor.”

Among the features of the new greenway:

  • A 10-foot shared use path for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Play opportunities and recreation features.
  • New benches.
  • Outdoor power stations.
  • Mile markers.
  • Green stormwater infrastructure to prevent flooding.
  • Raised sidewalks have been installed across Larned and Lafayette, in addition to the entryways and landscaping, to calm traffic near the greenway.
  • New security features, with cameras and emergency call boxes installed every 500 feet.

Detroit Selected to Host the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022

As many as 32 men’s and women’s soccer teams from up to 31 nations are expected to converge on Detroit for the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 presented by Toyota July 6-Aug. 6, 2022.

The event will feature nearly 600 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities.

“Special Olympics is proud to host the Special Olympics Unified Cup 2022 in the city of Detroit,” says Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics International. “Detroit’s commitment to inclusion, along with its passionate fan base, make the city a powerful platform to showcase the unifying power of sport. This event will demonstrate the talent, dedication, and leadership of Special Olympics athletes from around the world.”

Timothy Hileman, president and CEO of Special Olympics Michigan adds, “We are honored to bring one of the most inclusive sporting events in the world to our great state and to the city of Detroit. It will be a tremendous week of competition as we celebrate and promote a message of inclusion.”

The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 will be the second-ever tournament in this single-sport series, which challenges negative attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities and demonstrates how playing and competing together breaks down barriers to create a community of acceptance and inclusion.

Special Olympics Unified Sports bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team to promote inclusion through sport. Globally, there are more than 885,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) who compete in soccer.

“Toyota and Special Olympics share the common goal of creating a more mobile and inclusive society,” says Lisa Materazzo, group vice president of marketing at Toyota Motor North America. “Together, as a team both on and off the field, we are creating a world where everyone is empowered to achieve their personal best. Toyota is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022, where the public will witness how the freedom of mobility and the power of inclusion through sport can change the world.”

The finals will be broadcast from Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck — home of the Detroit City Football Club — to hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe by ESPN, the Global Broadcast Partner of Special Olympics and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports.

Competition and events throughout the week are expected to attract more than 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers, 500 family members, and dignitaries.

Ally Financial was announced as the Official Hometown Sponsor of the Unified Cup.

For more information, visit specialolympics.org.

Beaumont Health to Require COVID-19 Vaccine for Staff  

Due to the rapid spread of the highly contagious new Delta variant among unvaccinated people and to protect the safety of patients, employees, and providers, Beaumont Health will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all employees and providers who practice medicine or work at Beaumont facilities.

This mandate will go into effect after the Food & Drug Administration fully approves one or more of the current vaccines, which is expected early this fall. If the positive rate for the surrounding communities begins to spike or Beaumont experiences a fourth pandemic surge, however, the COVID-19 vaccine will be mandated before full FDA approval.

“We have a duty to protect our patients and our staff,” says John Fox, CEO of Beaumont Health. “The Delta variant is the most contagious form of COVID-19. It spreads much faster than the original version of the virus. We want all Beaumont team members to stay healthy. The vaccine is the only safe and effective way to truly protect against COVID-19.”

Anyone who works in a Beaumont facility, including employees, volunteers, and providers who practice or work at Beaumont facilities, will be required to get the vaccine. Team members must be fully vaccinated within six weeks of full FDA approval of any viable COVID-19 vaccine. Team members who do not meet exemptions and refuse to get vaccinated will initially be suspended. Those who choose not to be vaccinated will no longer be allowed to work at Beaumont. Additional details regarding Beaumont’s policy will be shared in the comings weeks.

City of Detroit Offering Several Employment Opportunities

The city of Detroit has several job opportunities in the areas of health, technology, and finance, including positions like veterinarians, environmental specialists, social workers, and database administrators.

The city conducted a virtual job fair this morning, which gave Detroit residents the opportunity to apply for professional career positions available across a number of government departments.

The openings are available in:

  • Detroit Health Department
  • Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department
  • Office of the Chief Financial Officer
  • American Rescue Plan Act-funded positions (project management and administrative assistants)

Individuals interested in a position with the city can visit here for information on all open positions, and how to apply.

Delta Dental Invests $828K to Support Minority Entrepreneurs

Delta Dental in Okemos has made a $828,000 investment in the Lightship Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds including women, minorities, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The investment from Delta Dental will be used to fund Lightship bootcamps in Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati this summer and fall, and a Lightship Accelerator in Detroit. Both programs offer education, networking, and mentorship opportunities for business founders.

“A community can only be truly successful if opportunities are available to all,” says Margaret Trimer, vice president of strategic partnerships for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. “Minority entrepreneurs have historically struggled to break into the mainstream. These bootcamps are rigorous and exciting and they will be game-changing for the attendees.”

The bootcamps are a free, two-day program providing beginning entrepreneurs with advice on sales tactics, legal information, investment readiness, marketing, and more. Since 2017, 72 business founders have completed the program, and $100 million has been raised for their businesses.

Lightship Accelerator is free, 12-week program based in Detroit that provides support and business education to women and minority entrepreneurs in technology. Participants in the Accelerator also receive a $250,000 investment from the Lightship Foundation.

For more information, visit www.lightship.education.

49th Clark Acquires Kautex Detroit

49th Clark, an entity of Florida-based Lost Tree Family Corp., has acquired Kautex Detroit and its 147,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 2627 Clark Ave. in the Corktown neighborhood.

The buyer was represented by Avison Young, a Detroit-based commercial real estate agency.

Kautex Detroit, a plastic gas tank manufacturer for the automotive industry, has been in this location since 1998. The building features high-tech robotic manufacturing equipment and state-of-the-art warehousing and delivery systems.

“Kautex and its fuel systems rank as one of the top 100 largest automotive suppliers in the world in terms of sales volume,” says Nicholas White, asset manager at 49th Clark. “This location allows a clear path for continued growth and expansion possibilities.”

Sloane Walsh, a sales and leasing specialist, at Avison Young, says, “This building produces specialized parts that are integral to the automotive industry, and this facility’s proximity to the major auto manufacturers makes it irreplaceable.”

Water Authority Approves Engineering Review of Summer Flooding

The Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) Board of Directors voted to approve the Ad Hoc Committee-recommended engineering and legal firms to conduct an independent and transparent review of the rain events of June 25-26, 2021, and July 16, 2021.

The selected engineering firms are AECOM, a global infrastructure consulting firm, with support from Applied Science Inc. (ASI), a consulting engineering firm with a national reputation in providing services on water resources projects. Attorney Jeffrey Collins, of the firm Collins & Collins, has been selected as legal representation.

AECOM and ASI were selected for their sector and technical knowledge and experience, experience in evaluating intense rain events and basement flooding, as well as their understanding of the complexity of GLWA’s regional system operations. Collins was selected by the committee based on his experience in managing reviews.

The independent investigation will begin immediately, and it is expected to take 60-90 days to complete. The scope of the review will assess the operational challenges and power supply concerns related to GLWA’s Freud, Conners Creek, Blue Hill, and Fairview Pump Stations related to the events on June 25-26, and July 16, 2021. The committee will evaluate any preliminary findings and assess what may be shared publicly as the review is underway. Findings will focus on the root cause analysis of the pumps and electrical system, electrical power redundancy, an assessment of the entire wastewater system to inform long-term planning and investments to ensure system resiliency for future wet weather events, as well as recommendation for near, intermediate, and long-term operational and infrastructure improvements and options for funding for these.

Detroit Historical Museum to Add Aretha Franklin to Legends Plaza

The Detroit Historical Society announced that it will unveil Aretha Franklin’s handprints on its Legends Plaza at a media event at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 1.

Franklin cast her handprints in concrete for installation on the plaza on June 8, 2017 at the Music Hall celebration of the dedication of Aretha Franklin Way in Detroit. The handprints were last seen as a part of a Detroit Historical Museum commemorative exhibit after her death in 2018. They are being placed on permanent display now in conjunction with the United Artists/MGM Studio release of a new feature film about her life.

“Legends Plaza stands as a testament to the worldwide contributions of Detroiters,” says Elana Rugh, president and CEO of the Detroit Historical Society. “We are proud that Ms. Franklin chose to add to her legacy with a permanent display on our plaza at the Detroit Historical Museum, and we couldn’t imagine a more appropriate space for her handprints to be accessible to her fans from Detroit and across the globe.”

The Detroit Historical Society also will open a new temporary exhibition featuring costumes from the new film, RESPECT, along with artifacts from its collection. The public opening is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Walmart to Pay 100% of College Tuition and Books for Associates

Walmart announced it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for associates through its Live Better U (LBU) education program.

Starting Aug. 16, the $1 a day fee will be removed for associates, making all education programs paid for by Walmart. This means approximately 1.5 million part-time and full-time Walmart and Sam’s Club associates in the U.S. can earn college degrees or learn trade skills without the burden of education debt. As the largest U.S. private employer, Walmart is committing to invest nearly $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development.

“We are creating a path of opportunity for our associates to grow their careers at Walmart, so they can continue to build better lives for themselves and their families,” says Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president of learning and leadership at Walmart. “This investment is another way we can support our associates to pursue their passion and purpose while removing the barriers that too often keep adult working learners from obtaining degrees.”

The LBU program was initially designed after consulting with experts, reviewing other employer provided education programs, and studying the research around what helps drive completion rates among adult working learners. This helped guide the initial $1 a day approach, but the economy and job market have changed, and Walmart is always looking for new ways to encourage more associates to pursue further education.

“We’re also excited to add in-demand college degree and certificate options in business administration, supply chain and cybersecurity,” says Stomski. “These additional offerings join a robust catalog of programs to set associates up for new career opportunities. Our education offerings tie directly to our growth areas at Walmart, and what better way to fill the pipeline of future talent than with our own associates.”

In addition, Walmart will add four academic partners, including Johnson & Wales University, the University of Arizona, the University of Denver, and Pathstream. These complement the existing partners: Brandman University, Penn Foster, Purdue University Global, Southern New Hampshire University, Wilmington University, and Voxy EnGen. Each of these institutions were chosen for their history of success with adult and working learner programs as well as their focus on degree completion.

For more information about Live Better U, our academic partners and degree options, click here.

UHY Hosts Junior Golf Tournament at Forest Lake Country Club

UHY Certified Public Accountants and the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) are hosting the UHY Detroit Junior at Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Township on Aug. 3-5.

Headlining this year’s boys’ field is P.J. Maybank, a high school junior from Cheboygan who is ranked 156th in the country. Leading the girls’ field is Jacqueline Nguyen from Houston, Texas, who is currently ranked 101 in the country and will be a freshman in college in the fall.

Local boys competing include Vimal Alokam from Ypsilanti, Brockton English from Shelby Township, and Braden Falk from Portage.  Local girls competing are led by Kate Brody from Grand Blanc, Allison Cui from Okemos, and Bridget Boczar from Canton Township.

Juniors earning spots in the field as a result of top finishes at the UHY Prep Series – Detroit played in April at Oakland University’s Katke-Cousins course include Sam Havey from Mason, Adie Maki from Canton Township, and Megha Vallabhaneni from Northville.

“Detroit recently hosted the Rocket Mortgage Classic and now we are hosting aspiring professional golfers,” says Tom Callan, regional managing partner of UHY in the Great Lakes. “The AJGA partnership has been great in that it serves to grow the game of golf and grow the talent pool of young accountants through our internship at the AJGA.”

The UHY Detroit Junior will feature 78 of the country’s best juniors from 12 states stretching from California to Florida in addition to international players from China, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic Returns to Wayne State Aug. 26-28

Tickets are on sale for the 16th Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic to be played Aug. 26-28, at Tom Adams Field on the campus of Wayne State University in Detroit.

All tickets are digital, must be purchased here, and are $12. One ticket provides admission for both games on the day of the ticket purchased. A portion of ticket sales benefits the participating schools. Fans will be required to bring their electronic device to activate the ticket at the gate.

The Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic will kick off at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26, with a clash between Canton and Dearborn Fordson. In the Thursday nightcap, Chippewa Valley will face 2020 Division 1 District champion Detroit Catholic Central at 7 p.m.

On Friday, Aug. 27, Birmingham Groves will play Dexter at 4 p.m., followed by 2020 MHSAA Division 2 finalist Warren De La Salle vs. Chicago Saint Patrick at 7 p.m.

On the final day, Eastpointe will open against 2020 Division 3 finalist River Rouge at 1 p.m., followed by Detroit Cass Tech vs. Southfield High School for the Arts & Technology at 4 p.m.