The Detroit Riverfront has undergone a stunning transformation over the past decade. Formerly a neglected and mostly inaccessible place, the riverfront today is characterized by a broad, inviting pedestrian promenade that has become popular among walkers, runners, cyclers and sight-seers.
Now, a new initiative I announced today with Matt Cullen, the chairman of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, aims to get more people active on the RiverWalk through free fitness programming.
“Live the Riverfront” is a multi-year partnership between Blue Cross and the RiverFront Conservancy. The Blues are pledging $1 million to the effort, which has several components:
Walk the RiverWalk Wednesdays — Over a 16-week period, we’re encouraging people to spend their lunch breaks or free time walking the riverfront on Wednesdays and logging their activity on an online portal. For every third check-in, they’ll receive a BCBSM-branded health-related prize, and those who check in at least eight times are entered into a drawing of RiverFront Conservancy prizes, including memberships, engraved waterfront paver bricks and tickets to the organization’s annual fundraising gala. This initiative kicks off May 7, when we’ll also distribute free pedometers to all participants.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Riverfront Run/Walk — This 5- and 10K race replaces the popular River Days Run and will be held during the Detroit River Days festival on June 14. The race takes participants along the RiverWalk and Dequindre Cut Greenway and is expected to draw more than 1,000 participants. Information and registration are available here.
Weekly fitness classes — From June 2 through the end of August, we’ll be offering free weekly yoga and T’ai Chi classes at Rivard Plaza. Urban Solace will lead the yoga classes on Thursdays at 6 p.m. and on Fridays at 9 a.m., while the schedule for T’ai Chi will be announced later. No registration is necessary for the classes.
Riverfront Fit Park — In 2015 Blue Cross and the Riverfront Conservancy will unveil a free, permanent outdoor workout space with stationary equipment suitable for circuit workouts and boot camp-style exercise. The exact location and other details are still being finalized.
We’re really excited to launch this partnership with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. It builds on the great work they’re doing to transform the riverfront, and we think it helps fortify the riverfront as a true regional jewel.
Daniel J. Loepp is president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.