Spirit of Detroit Plaza to stay open permanently
Detroit — The "Spirit of Detroit Plaza,” a curved walkway and seating area along the median of Woodward, will remain open permanently, the city confirmed Friday.
The stretch of Woodward, between Jefferson and Larned, has been closed to motor traffic since June 12 for a three-month trial.
The goal of Spirit Plaza was to move people from Campus Martius to the Detroit Riverfront and Maurice Cox, the city's planning director, said officials concluded the project was a success.
"We've received an overwhelming amount of positive responses. We're moving for it to be a permanent fixture, so we are now coming up with fall and winter programming to keep people coming back," Cox said.
Cox said the city surveyed and monitored traffic associated with the road closure and has seen an improvement.
"It's much less difficult for pedestrians to reach Hart Plaza. We monitored 11 locations and found that traffic was actually improved, especially on Jefferson. Some of the other spots on Griswold and Randolph, there was no significant impact," Cox said.
The 20,000-square-foot plaza includes a seating area, occasional food trucks and art.
The trial period was funded with private and public dollars costing under $200,000. Cox said they hope to return to investors and others to fund the plaza year-round.
Contributors included, Helen Johnson, vice president of strategic investments for Quicken Loans, one of the projects funders, previously said her organization contributed $50,000 to the project while the William Davidson Foundation granted $50,000. The city of Detroit invested $60,000, Johnson said, and state officials granted $25,000.
Cox said the city will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Spirit of Detroit statute in May and hopes to have a clearer plan by then for what the plaza will be.