Washtenaw Parks & Recreation Commission


Provide a “sense of place” by artfully enhancing the landscape setting


Washtenaw County, Michigan

Project Highlights

  • Karen McKeachie Celebration Plaza
  • Integrating art & sculpture into each bridge
  • Art & sculpture reflecting ecology & cultural history
  • $8 million of $25 million raised within the first year of the campaign

This project is a fundraising effort led by the Huron Waterloo Pathways Initiative (HWPI) and Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission (WCPARC) to accelerate implementation of an eight-mile section of the Border-to-Border (B2B)/Iron Belle Trail in Washtenaw County. Several substantial pieces of infrastructure, seven bridges and one tunnel are required to complete the B2B/Iron Belle Trail through the Huron River Valley between Ann Arbor and Dexter, Michigan. Each bridge and the tunnel can enhance the “sense of place” by being artfully integrated as a part of the natural landscape setting. The vision for each bridge or tunnel is to have a unique identity that is reflective of why the communities within Washtenaw County and along the river are outstanding places to live, work, and play.

ECT led and managed the project with its partners, HWPI, WCPARC, the Huron River Watershed Council and Huron-Clinton Metroparks in developing the guidelines intended to outline the required parameters and make suggestions to achieve the goal of building the seven new bridges and one underpass that are cohesive, engaging, compelling, artful, and sensitive to local context. The guidelines are defined by three core components: guiding principles, technical standards, and design guidelines.

To date, the first three bridges have sponsors and two of the bridges will be in place by the end of 2019. The first bridge, sponsored by the McKeachie family, will have art developed by ECT’s team of landscape architects, a local architect, and artist celebrating the life and accomplishments of a world champion triathlete, Karen McKeachie from Michigan. The other two bridges were funded through an anonymous donor and the ECT team and stakeholders will be working with that entity to develop artistic themes reflecting the adjacent landscape and/or cultural historic characteristics.