Detroit plans road closure to keep traffic out of Corktown park

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The city of Detroit has revealed plans for improvements to Roosevelt Park that officials say will make it safer and uninterrupted by vehicle traffic.

The plans for the park, which sits along Michigan Avenue in the shadow of Michigan Central Station, involve permanently closing a section of Vernor Highway that cuts through the park and a section of 15th Street in the city’s Corktown neighborhood.

Vernor Viaduct and Roosevelt Park improvements.

A temporary closure of Vernor Highway at 17th and Newark streets will begin Tuesday. Construction will be done in two phases and be completed in February 2022, officials said.

“Roosevelt Park is just another example of the city of Detroit Department of Public Works collaborating with other city departments to beautify and make safe our city resources for residents to enjoy,” said Dayo Akinyemi, DPW deputy director, in a statement. “Our mission is to partner with everyone including the residents to ensure we maximize placemaking opportunities for our citizens.”

The project is a result of the city’s Greater Corktown Neighborhood Planning Framework in 2019 that recommended a single park space, officials said.

Roosevelt Park, Detroit

As part of the project, 16th Street from Michigan Avenue to Vernor will be redesignated as Vernor Highway.

Bob DiMattia, owner of Mexicantown Restaurant on Bagley Street, said the project has "potential to open up access to all of the diverse neighborhoods in this area.”

Other construction work in the area includes Ford Motor Co. rebuilding the Vernor viaduct. There will be temporary road closures through October.

Other recreational improvements on the way include the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy's efforts to build the Southwest Greenway that will tie into surrounding recreational facilities in Corktown, such as Roosevelt Park. The greenway will follow the former May Creek to the city's West Riverfront.

The city is seeking input regarding work at Roosevelt Park through a survey that closes Oct. 31.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN