By Jeffrey Buck
If you’ve driven up or down Woodward chances are you’ve seen them but just weren’t sure what they were called. The two 30 ft., solar powered, glass and concrete pillars in Ferndale and Pontiac, will be joined by a third in Royal Oak. The Woodward Tributes are a series of interpretive public art strategically placed in the median of Woodward, an All-American Road. These beautiful glowing “tubes” represent the history and future of Woodward Avenue. They help depict the deep roots metro Detroit has in automotive history, music, arts & culture heritage, transportation, labor and innovation.
The Royal Oak tribute, which will be located in the Woodward median just north of Coolidge Highway and south of 13 Mile Road, will feature some of Woodwards most known history; drive-ins, cruising, and automotive. The tributes cost $150,000 to construct & install and the maintenance associated with them after installation is done through a partnership. The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) will work with the City of Royal Oak and MDOT to ensure the Royal Oak Tribute has a long and distinguishing presence along Woodward.
With $120,000 of the total needed coming from grant money, the remaining $30,000 in local match is needed to secure the grant. Beaumont Hospital, Northwood Merchants Association/Leo’s Coney Island, Northwood Credit Union and the Royal Oak Chamber have contributed already. With the $9,500 collected thus far, as well as donations of graphic design from automotive designer Kyle Evans and engineering and administrative support from the city of Royal Oak worth a total of $6,000, more fundraising efforts are needed.
A fundraising effort will be held next Thursday at Royal Oak’s newest pizzeria. On Thursday, April 19th, Pizzeria Biga restaurant, located at 711 South Main Street, will be holding its grand opening celebration. The fundraiser is $75 a person and includes a signed limited edition print of the tribute, wine/craft beer and strolling hors d’ oeuvres. The event is being organized by WA3, Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison, Michael Chetcuti, tribute designer Kyle Evans and Luciano Del Signore, owner of Pizzeria Biga. Individuals looking to purchase tickets can do so by clicking here.
“The city of Royal Oak has a long and rich history with Woodward Avenue and as a community, we want to acknowledge that history in a permanent Tribute,” said Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison. “We are excited about the Tribute event which will allow us the opportunity to share our vision of the tribute with all who helped create and support it.”
Woodward Tributes in Highland Park and Detroit are currently in development. When complete, WA3 hopes to see several more tributes flanking Woodward’s 27-mile stretch of roadway including an audio component, providing self-guided ‘tours’ of Woodward.
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