BWYP vice president Jackie Hanton said people should donate “in order to bring vibrancy back to the Black River, to give it some life and to help create new gathering places.”


The original planning for about a dozen maritime-themed pieces started two years ago. The group had a contest for bench and bike rack designs about a year ago, and the first of four pieces was installed in August. One more piece is completed but not installed, and another piece is almost finished.


“It’s going to be a great thing for the city, obviously,” said A.J. Armbruster, BWYP president. “It’s a highly used, highly accessible waterfront in our downtown.”


He said the fundraising campaign allows people to contribute as much as they can afford.


“It’s helping to give to a level that you feel comfortable with, so it’s a cool way to do it,” Armbruster said.


Each piece will have a sponsorship plaque that will feature the names of the designer, fabricator and donors.


The group has raised more than $30,000, but needs $18,000 more to complete this project.


Pieces will be fabricated as money becomes available, with the hope all pieces will be fabricated and in place in time for a Black River Walk dedication party at 1 p.m. May 10 near the Seventh Street bridge.


Hanton said the group hopes to raise the first 40 percent within the first couple of weeks of the 60-day campaign. The last day to donate is April 24.


Completion of the pieces will be the end of phase one, she said. The group will then begin work on phase two, which includes adding another gathering area along the Black River and a very large mural.


Hill Machine Works in Port Huron has been making the pieces, with the exception of one custom-wood bench, Hanton said.

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