By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – City officials will gather at noon Sept. 13 for a ceremony first envisioned five years ago when they cut the ribbon at Southgate’s Market Center Park.
Festivities kick off at noon at the Park, 13545 Eureka, and run to 4 p.m. including raffles and giveaways from Planet Fitness, a Kid Zone hosted by Downriver Gymnastics, treats, a farmer’s market, local vendors and live music by Little Davy & the Diplomats.
The ceremony continues a journey to revitalize the faded Southgate Shopping Center that Mayor Joseph Kuspa said began with a meeting in 2010, and was made possible by community spirit and generosity.
Restoring the former Center began with developer Mickey Sisskind’s donation to the city of the old Montgomery Ward building and property he’d bought. The iconic department store had sat silent since closing in 2000. City officials and local stakeholders formed a vision of renewed businesses framing a community gathering place, complete with a gazebo to welcome live entertainment, movie nights and theater productions.
This summer has seen the debut of entertainment at the pavilion, and city officials will complete the complex’s official unveiling today.
Phase One of the project – the pavilion and amphitheater park – cost about $400,000 in a joint venture between the Downtown Development Authority, local interests and a state grant.
Since the demolition of the former Montgomery Ward store, occupancy of sites at the center continued and city officials anticipate filling the complex with stores and restaurants, and full summer schedule of live entertainment awaits in 2016.
Details on the city’s summer concerts and plans for the Park are available at www.southgate-mi.org.
(James Mitchell can be reached at email@example.com.)