Ella Fitzgerald Park

About the project


It is no secret that Detroit has experienced economic upheaval in the past. However, the city is always working hard to improve its infrastructure and the lives of its citizens. But In 2013, the City of Detroit declared bankruptcy, and many thought it was the end of the once beautiful community. However, only a year and a half later in 2014, Detroit was able to free itself from bankruptcy. Shortly afterward, the city also announced it was open to investment and began working on projects to improve the municipality. Residents of Detroit, including a veteran named Ron Matten, started making personal initiatives to change the way the city sees itself and revitalize its most downtrodden areas. Because of this determination from the city and its people to revive Detroit like a phoenix from the ashes, Detroit instituted its most ambitious project yet in 2017, the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project. This project was awarded the American Society of Landscape Architects’ Professional Award in 2017. Click here for more details.


The $12 million to $15 million revitalization project called for 115 homes to be renovated, 200 vacant lots to be cleared, a park and greenway to be built, and parts of a nearby commercial strip to be redeveloped. The Kresge Foundation has also pitched in millions of dollars to the Live6 Alliance, a local nonprofit that services the area, and for corridor improvements through the city’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund. The goal of the project was to turn the northwest Detroit neighborhood into a vibrant place that could be enjoyed by new and longtime residents alike. The city’s urban designers utilized landscaping to help develop the framework for affordable housing, workforce development, and community empowerment. This project represents an innovative way to think about neighborhood revitalization where healthy, inclusive, and ecologically robust landscapes are the driving forces. In the future, there is no doubt that other cities will look back on this ambitious project and integrate it into their urban development plans.


The City of Detroit wanted to add a greenway for the residents of the Fitzgerald neighborhood to enjoy along with Ella Fitzgerald Park. The city needed an area lighting solution for the greenway.  Soltech provided a solar solution with 50+ Sunlike 30W fixtures for them.

For this project, Soltech calculated and recommended its Sunlike 30W fixtures in order to provide the proper light distribution that the city required, while it’s simple all-in-one design fit with the existing park design. Each Sunlike fixture came with a slip fitter to simplify mounting on the poles that the city purchased for this project. 

Because of the solar lighting solution offered by Soltech, the City of Detroit was able to save a good part of their budget by avoiding wiring and ditch-digging needed for traditional on-grid lighting solutions. 

The fixtures were installed at a height of 18 Feet″ and an angle of 40°. Check out “Solar Panel Optimization” to learn more about solar panel angles. During the whole process, Soltech was monitoring the performance of the lights. In addition, Soltech worked closely with the city’s landscape designers and electricians to brainstorm and discuss this installation. This project also inspired the engineers at Soltech to create the next generation of solar products, hybrid Solar + City Grid.


Working with the City of Detroit in providing them with Soltech’s adept lighting solutions was a pleasure. The solutions to these declining communities give a unique perspective into how engaged communities can help reverse the decline and bring about a rebirth of their communities. Soltech is always willing to help, especially with projects as ambitious and important as this one. Soltech is always working diligently to help cities provide energy-efficient lights for its citizens and infrastructure.

Project Video

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