Saginaw honors former mayor with new plaza project

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to honor a man who gave his life to Saginaw.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to begin phase one of a new plaza project honoring a man who gave his life to Saginaw.

Former Mayor Henry Marsh passed away in 2011, but his legacy is alive and well. It’s part of the inspiration behind a new project aimed at welcoming more people to Saginaw.

“It means a lot to the family. My dad committed his life to this city. And we’re just happy that the city recognizes that and has chosen to give him this honor,” said Michael Marsh, the son of Former Mayor Henry Marsh.

Marsh was talking about a mural set to take shape at the Henry G. Marsh Bridge in Saginaw. He took part in a ribbon-cutting for the first phase of the Henry Marsh Plaza project. Soon, people passing by will see work begin on the wall under the bridge on the east side of Washington Street.

“He was one of the founding members of First State Bank in Saginaw. And one of their commitments at the time of their founding was to eliminate the red-lining that had been traditionally going on in this city. And I think they made a lot of inroads into to that,” Marsh said.

Marsh also said his father collaborated with others to create opportunities for those who were being kept out.

“They worked very hard to open up the skill trades in Saginaw. There was a time when the skill trades and General Motors were not open to African-Americans. And they were instrumental in getting it opened up,” Marsh said.

TV5 got a glimpse of a rough sketch of the design for the mural.

For his part, Marsh said he likes the direction the artwork is taking.

“I’ve seen the concept that they’ve done, that they’ve put together, and I think just seeing the end product will be very fulfilling and rewarding to the family,” he said.

Annette Rummel, CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau gave an update on where things stand with the Henry Marsh Plaza project.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to begin phase one of a new plaza project honoring a man who gave his life to Saginaw.

“So in phase one, we have the mural and the lighting. So those, MDOT has approved, the city of Saginaw, and the county of Saginaw, are all supporting this effort to move forward,” Rummel said.

Rummel said while plans for the mural and lighting under the bridge are in place, the project is still waiting for approval from MDOT to allow gatherings of people below the overpass.

“If they do, then we’ll be putting a base down and doing multiple activities throughout the year,” she said.

The organizer said they are creating an urban park.

Saginaw Mayor Brenda Moore said this vision will hopefully lead to even more development taking place in Saginaw.

“The long-term plan is to increase population and to develop our city into a place where everybody wants to live, work, and play,” Moore said.

Moore called the ribbon-cutting of phase one of the Henry Marsh Plaza project an important step.

“I want to see a lot of unity, which is starting to happen, and a lot of collaboration. Because that’s the only way we’re going to make it,” she said.

As for Rummel, she said the late former Saginaw Mayor Henry Marsh would want to keep this momentum going.

“Within the city of Saginaw, we know that we need to attract restaurants, hotels, make the city walkable. And I think that this will go a long way to beginning that process,” Rummel said.

Organizers hope to have the mural completed in time for the Memorial Cup, which comes to Saginaw in May of 2024.

Work on the mural is expected to begin later this month.

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