The resurrection of the Detroit’s science center is another step closer to reality. The DTE Energy Foundation said this week that it has committed $250,000 to the effort to reopen the Museum District site on John R as the Michigan Science Center.
“We appreciate DTE Energy Foundation’s quick response to our funding needs,” Tom Stephens, chairman of the Michigan Science Center’s board of director, said in a statement. “With each donation we get one step closer to opening the facility and fulfilling its mission of inspiring children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math education.”
DTE Foundation joins a growing list of benefactors backing the effort to rebrand and reopen the science center, forced to close more than a year ago under the weight of mounting debt, operational problems and an untenable business model. Supporters include the General Motors Foundation, the Ford Fund, ITC Holdings, Lear Corp., Penske Corp., the Manoogian Fund and the Ann Arbor business leader, Ron Weiser, who rescued the science center and its contents from foreclosure by Flint-based Citizens Bank.
Stephens and his fellow directors are pushing to determine when to reopen the facility — a move he says they will not take until they are certain they have raised enough money in the bank (not just pledges) to complete acquisition of the assets and to operate the center properly for the next several years. Any closer to a date for reopening, I asked Stephens in an e-mail today. His reply: ”Just a couple big donations away …”