(CBS DETROIT)– Before his death in 1989, Detroit car dealership owner and businessman Porterfield Wilson had a vision for Detroit’s boating community.
“To have a marina of affluent people so they can come to all the races and that was his vision, in fact on his gravestone he has that he wants this marina village to be completed and I’m working to make that dream come true for him ,” said Jason Mcguire, CEO and owner of ABC Enterprises.
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Mcguire says he still has a long way to go, but he’s striving to make that vision a reality. Just as Wilson broke down barriers by becoming a successful black businessman in Detroit, Mcquire is following in those footsteps. His company ABC Enterprise owns and operates the Erma Henderson and Riverside Marina in Detroit. Making it one of 11 black marina owners in the world, one of 10 certified black marine operators, and the only one in Michigan.
“The gravity of the situation is not light on me, I think it’s a huge responsibility. The marina belongs to the people who use it,” Mcguire said.
The people who use it reflect the city in which the marinas reside and are historic in themselves.
“Detroit has the largest black boating community in the country, this marina here is about 66 acres, has about 222 active slips, all of those slips are tokenism and there’s currently a waiting list of 128 people to get in,” says McGuire.
Mcquire says he is grateful for the success of the Riverside Marina and the community is grateful to him.
During the pandemic, when indoor balls were canceled, it provided a safe outdoor space for events.
“I changed the setup here and was able to host 14 proms in less than 2 weeks for the Class of 2020,” Mcguire said.
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So with all of Mcquires’ hard work over the past 10 years, what would Wilson say about marinas?
“I have a lot more to do, absolutely,” Mcguire said.
Sure, it’s all frozen now, but we know summer will be here and you better believe Detroit boaters will be out on the Detroit River carrying on this historic tradition.
For more information on Riverside and Erma Henderson Marinas, visit.
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