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Detroit park to commemorate Rouge River’s 50-year turnaround

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DETROIT (AP) – Ground is being broken for a park commemorating a half-century turnaround for a river that runs through Detroit’s industrial southwest side.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell and Rashida Tlaib are among the dignitaries expected to attend Wednesday’s groundbreaking of the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park.

The date, Oct. 9, also marks the 50th anniversary of a 1969 fire on the Rouge River. Sparks from an acetylene torch ignited oil and wooden debris in the river, sending flames high into the air.

Organizers say the fire was among the catalysts for the Clean Water Act of 1972 and major watershed restoration efforts in the years since.

Plans for the park include a sculpture, kayak launch, boardwalk, rain garden and walking path.

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