The first phase of the Detroit waterfront transformation project, three-and-a-half miles of the east riverfront, spans from Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park and is more than 80 percent complete.
The completed portions of the east riverfront, along with its sister rails-to-trails greenway, the Dequindre Cut, are populated with approximately three million visitors annually who come to walk, run, bike, spend time with family and friends and take advantage of the quality of life opportunity a revitalized riverfront provides.
Attractions along the east riverfront include parks, plazas, pavilions, pathways and open green space, all connected by the ever popular RiverWalk.
In the summer of 2012, the Conservancy launched the final construction phases to complete the east riverfront project and connect the RiverWalk and its associated green spaces along the waterfront.
The first construction phase includes a complete transformation of Mt. Elliott Park. The second construction phase includes enhancements to Gabriel Richard Park and developing the parcels of land to the west and east of Chene Park. The final phase will provide for the construction of public space along the Uniroyal site.
The Conservancy’s ultimate vision is to develop five-and-a-half miles of riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge on the west to Gabriel Richard Park, which is just east of the MacArthur (Belle Isle) Bridge.
The first phase of the project, three-and-a-half miles along the east riverfront, is more than 80 percent complete and spans from Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park.
Opening up a segment of the west riverfront for long-awaited public access is one step closer to reality for the Conservancy as construction crews transform a former newspaper printing facility property at 1801 W. Jefferson into a 20-acre green oasis.
The Conservancy purchased the property from the Detroit Free Press in 2007.
When the property officially opens, visitors will find three new pathways linking the riverfront to West Jefferson Avenue, benches, trash receptacles and plenty of lush green space for a variety of outdoor activities. The Conservancy is expanding the width of the popular RiverWalk along this parcel to 30 feet to better accommodate adequate space for walking, running, biking and fishing. Safety and security improvements will include new railings, lighting, security cameras and call boxes.
The Conservancy continues to work with key stakeholders, including the City of Detroit and private property owners, towards a strategic plan for revitalizing the west riverfront.
Stay tuned for more progress on the west riverfront project in the future.
The Dequindre Cut Greenway is an urban recreational path that opened to the public in May of 2009. The 1.5-mile greenway, developed through a public, nonprofit and private partnership which includes the federal government, City of Detroit, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, offers a pedestrian link between the east riverfront, Eastern Market and several residential neighborhoods in between.
Formerly a Grand Trunk Railroad line, the Dequindre Cut is a predominately below-street level greenway that runs parallel to St. Aubin Street, between Gratiot Avenue and Atwater Street, just north of the riverfront. Well-known for its examples of urban artwork and graffiti, the greenway features a 20-foot-wide paved pathway, which includes separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Entrance ramps to the Cut are located at Atwater Street, Franklin Street, Lafayette Street, Gratiot Avenue and at Woodbridge Street.
Construction is currently underway for Phase II of the Dequindre Cut, which would extend the greenway north from Gratiot Avenue to Mack Avenue.