Editorial: Reviving Detroit, a block at a time

The Detroit News

A block here and a block there, Detroit is being transformed from a dying city to one brimming with new life. This is how Detroit will revive, one space at a time, until they're gradually linked together.

This past weekend, the tarps were pulled off a new sculpture garden on Madison Avenue to reveal a series of statues donated by the Detroit Athletic Club. The figures are of various athletes, and commemorate the club's 100th anniversary.

They give visitors entering downtown from the east something strikingly beautiful to distract from the jarring concrete mess of the unfinished Wayne County jail just down the street.

A few blocks away, Eastern Market has become Detroit's community gathering spot on weekends. This Saturday will debut the $8.5 million expansion of Shed No. 5, which will give the market the centerpiece it deserves.

While the $650 million Red Wings arena development is about to get underway in the Cass Corridor, Canfield Street near Wayne State is well ahead of the rest of the neighborhood. The recent addition of the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery to a block that already contains the Shinola store, Traffic Jam and Snug, and a handful of new businesses has made Canfield one of the more interesting streets in the city.

Michigan Avenue through Corktown continues to add exciting bars and restaurants. Vacant structures are being rehabilitated, steadily filling in the gaps as the entertainment strip creeps beyond the old Michigan Central Depot, turning blight into nightlife.

While the action is mostly downtown and midtown, it has reached some neighborhoods, including the old Avenue of Fashion on Livernois in Detroit. Much more has to happen outside the city's core.

This is how Detroit will be rebuilt; not in a massive wave that sweeps across the entire city at once, but in small pockets where revival puts down strong roots and then spreads.