Detroit needs more public spaces to gather, play and enjoy the city.. period. If you spend any time in other major cities they are positively littered with outdoor cafes, parks, and places to enjoy the out-of-doors.

On a Saturday in Eastern Market, which has been in operation since 1891, is positively awash with activity and fresh food but it lacks a common area to relax and take a break from checking out all the stalls. Thanks to the DTE Energy Foundation you will have such a spot to enjoy the Motor City in Eastern Market.

The foundation this last Friday gave the Eastern Market Corp. $750,000 to build a 200 seat social gathering area right outside the sheds at the market. It’ll carry DTE’s name and is one of the many steps in the $3.9 million renovation project going on at Shed 5.

“The DTE Energy plaza will serve as a convivial gathering place to create a stronger market, and we are very grateful for the DTE Energy Foundation’s generous support and naming of this new community asset,” Dan Carmody, President of the Eastern Market Corp., mentioned in a statement last week.

This summer the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) gave the Market $1 million grant for renovations. Other groups are helping out as well. Corporate sponsorships, foundations and other donors have gathered together to help the market with some of the much needed improvements. If you, like my parents who have lived in Metro Detroit their entire lives and have not visited Eastern Market, it is a must do. Open every Saturday all year and on Tuesdays during the Summer and early Fall. There also will be a special Thanksgiving market.

Carrying on all this winter the renovations on Shed 5 are scheduled to be wrapped up by June. So this coming summer when you are getting your weekly produce you will be able to sit outside under one of the many umbrellas and organize your fresh, local food haul.

“DTE has joined this public-private collaboration because the Shed 5 project is about so much more than bricks and mortar,” said Gary Anderson, chairman, president and CEO of DTE. “The transformation of Eastern Market is part of a larger Detroit renaissance taking place from the riverfront to downtown to Midtown to the city’s neighborhoods.”

This will be a much welcomed addition to the Eastern Market experience and yet another reason to enjoy Detroit next year. This is one of the many exciting projects reshaping the city we know and love.