Campus Martius Park is sited on 1.6 acres on now destroyed Kennedy Square at the very heart of downtown. A new traffic circle frames the park. Here, at the convergence of Monroe and Woodward avenues just above Jefferson Avenue, marks the point of origin for the coordinates of the Detroit survey and the Judge Augustus Woodward plan for streets, squares, and lots. In 1788, Campus Martius was a military drill ground.
In 1997, then-mayor Dennis Archer and the Greater Downtown Partnership unveiled the vision of Campus Martius Park as part of an investment strategy for the central business district. Detroit 300 Conservancy, the nonprofit entity in charge of the three-hundred-year celebration of the founding of the city of Detroit under the leadership of Edsel B. Ford II, chair, adopted the mission of funding and creating this legacy park. In order to improve the quality of life in Detroit and the image of the city, the park was planned to be the best public gathering space in Detroit. The planners relied on William H. Whyte's studies of human behavior in urban settings and guiding principles put forth in Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build stronger communities. The park has multiple attractions, including fountains, gardens, grassy areas for summer use, winter skating, performance stages, a cafe, and monuments. Indeed, the park is a vibrant year-round gathering place. Funds for the park came as a gift from Detroit 300 Conservancy and from corporations, foundations, and individuals.