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Wyandotte Arts Center to be Renamed for James DeSana on Sept. 14

The new James R. DeSana Center for Arts & Culture will be unveiled during an invite-only ceremony.

The will officially be renamed the James R. DeSana Center for Arts & Culture during a private, invite-only ceremony on Sept. 14.

Mayor Joseph Peterson that the change occur in honor of the sitting city council member and former mayor.

Peterson said DeSana, 81, is to credit for the arts center as it was under his mayoral tenure in October 2006 that the city purchased the former Masonic Temple with the intention of turning it into a cultural facility.

"Thanks to his insight, we now have a cultural facility that meets today's demands for a place where our residents of all ages can showcase their talents, whether it is youth theater, lectures, painting, music, or any of the many other enriching activities available for our enjoyment," Peterson wrote in a letter to city officials.

"This historic structure, in its current use as an art center, has already become a tremendous asset to the cultural development of our community. ... I believe Councilman DeSana's contributions and achievements, as well as his dedication to this community and its residents during his 55 years of public service as an elected official at the city, county and state levels, make him very deserving of this honor."

DeSana's history with the city dates back to 1957 when he was first elected to the council. He held that position until becoming mayor in 1961. He held the city's top seat until 1969, at which time he was elected as a Wayne County Commissioner. He remained with the county until 1976 when he was elected as a state senator. He served in Lansing for a decade before returning to local politics, when he was elected to his second term as Wyandotte mayor in 1987.

After serving for 10 years as mayor, DeSana took some time off from politics to serve as the director of the Michigan Department of Transportation. He held that job from 1997 to 2000. He was elected back to the Wyandotte council in 2001 and served one, four-year term before becoming mayor for his third stint in 2005. After four years as mayor, he was elected to the council in 2009, where he remains today.

DeSana said many people are to be credited for turning the former Masonic Temple into the cultural attraction it is today.

"Wyandotte has always had outstanding recreational facilities, but when it came to the cultural activities, we needed to make that more available, not only to people in Wyandotte, but all of Downriver," he said.

DeSana said he is especially pleased with the Downriver Council for the Arts, which is housed inside and oversees the operations of the arts center.

"Regardless of the name of the building, it will still be the home of the Downriver Council for the Arts," he said. "They are doing an excellent job and continue to move beyond my expectations."

The Sept. 14 event is set to include brief remarks from a few public officials before the new sign is unveiled. City Council members approved spending $3,850 on the cast aluminum sign, which was designed by of Wyandotte.

Web Spin September 06, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Over 100 bankrupt businesses, taxes at an all time high and all spent downtown while Eureka, Fort, and the industrial areas look like a bomb hit them. Wonderful job. I hope you and your friends enjoyed spending all the tax money.
marianne wright September 06, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I don't understand being private. A public place in and for the city of Wyandotte and citizens can't go. I will wait for an invite before I go into that place. Joe Wright
Amanda Blair September 07, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Congratulations to Mr Desana. I grew up next door to him and Mrs Desana and I always spent my summers in there pool after they taught me how to swim very respectable and caring people. I do wish it was an open celebration though
Art Zasadny September 07, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Congrats and a good way to thank Mr DeSana for the good work he has done for Wyandotte!
Pat Perry September 15, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Congratulations to Mr. DeSana!

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