Riverfront extension will connect to Michigan Central, residential neighborhoods
Detroit — Officials broke ground Wednesday on a nearly mile-long extension of the Detroit Riverfront to connect it to residential neighborhoods and Michigan Central.
The $8 million Southwest Greenway will connect the riverfront and planned Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park with the rail station and neighborhoods throughout southwest Detroit, Mexicantown and Corktown, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy announced in a press release.
"The Southwest Greenway will make it easy and fun for people living and working on the west side of Detroit to get to the Detroit Riverfront,” said Matt Cullen, chairman of the nonprofit, adding that the greenway would offer a similar experience for park-goers to the Dequindre Cut.
Spanning from Bagley to Jefferson Avenue, the greenway will improve community access to public spaces in the city and is expected to be completed in the fall, according to the conservancy.
It will be "a key part" of the Joe Louis Greenway, a 27.5-mile greenway in Detroit, both of which are a part of 160 miles of greenways in southeast Michigan.
"I am excited to see that we have been intentional as a city of departments to include our neighborhoods in all of our outreach and all of our engagement when it comes to quality park space and quality opportunities in this city," said Antoine Bryant, director of the Planning & Development Department for the City of Detroit, at the ceremony for the groundbreaking.
Michigan Central announced Wednesday a $5 million commitment for the greenway, which will be completed in partnership with the City of Detroit, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Walters Family Foundation.
"Not only is it going to be this wonderful, walkable, safe, beautiful amenity for the neighborhoods, but it is that connector," said Mary Culler, chair of Michigan Central. "It actually has that opportunity to be a destination place to think about the future of mobility."
It will be critical for everyone to have access to the greenway, Culler added, including people who don't have the ability to walk or ride a bike.
The Conservancy will break ground on the connected Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, a 22-acre endeavor on the West Riverfront, on May 10, with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation having committed $50 million toward the project in 2018.