DETROIT (WWJ) – The woman who helped transform Detroit’s Riverfront into one of the city’s crown jewels is leaving her job.
Faye Alexander Nelson is stepping down as president of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to take a job at DTE Energy. A statement from the company confirms that Nelson will become president of the DTE Energy Foundation and vice president of public affairs. But, Riverfront Conservancy Chairman Matt Cullen says there’s no truth to speculation that she was forced out.
“Ridiculous. I mean, let me put it clearly, that is a ridiculous assertion by anyone, and whoever would suggest that has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about,” says Cullen.
Cullen says Nelson’s move had nothing to do with a new mayor and administration taking over in Detroit. In fact, Cullen praises Nelson for the work that she’s done as head of the Riverfront Conservancy since 2003. He says that it’s easy to see the impact that Nelson had on improving Detroit’s Riverfront.
Says Cullen, “We have all kinds of before and after pictures where you look ten years ago and you have cement silos and broken down parking lots, you really couldn’t access the waterfront anywhere. Now we have one of the most spectacular waterfronts in North America, literally. And it’s really just getting started: the Dequindre cut, all of the things that have been taking place, the new residential that’s been announced.”
Cullen says thanks to Nelson, the Riverfront has helped attract millions of people to Detroit and served as a catalyst for economic development in the city. And he says it won’t be easy to find someone to fill Nelson’s shoes.
Detroit political commentator Adolph Mongo says, “She’s going over to DTE and it is what it is. It’s a lot of stuff happening in the city.”
Nelson’s position with the DTE Energy Foundation becomes effective February 17. Fred Shell, vice president of corporate and government affairs for DTE Energy, will remain the Foundation’s chairman.