Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Riverwalk’

Detroit Riverfront Community Meeting Highlights

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

There was a huge turnout at last night’s Detroit Riverfront Community meeting. The large crowd eagerly applauded both the finished and planned projects along the Detroit Riverfront.

Some of the more popular topics were the extension of the Dequindre Cut and the “dream” of connecting the RiverWalk with historic Fort Wayne.

2013 is going to be a busy year for RiverWalk improvements, including:

  • Mt. Elliott Park – Under construction now; Completed by 2014. LEED certified design
  • Civic Center area – Improved lighting, wayfinding and security are planned for the older riverfront section from Joe Louis to the Port Authority.
  • Watermark/Chene East & West – Two new segments will be built on both sides of Chene Park.
  • Coast Guard – The segment just west of the RiverPlace is owned by the Coast Guard. Plans are underway to extend the RiverWalk across this property toward Chene Park.
  • UniRoyal site – The biggest missing piece on the east; Western third (43 acres) being remediated now
  • Gabriel Richard Park – Getting a green parking lot and new path to the river.
  • Globe Trading Building – DNR is turning into a Discovery Center with indoor climbing wall, archery, and kayak simulator; scheduled to open in 2013
  • Dequindre Cut North – Construction to being, extending the Cut to Mack Avenue with bike lane extension to Hamtramck; Also includes connetions to Midtown and Eastern Market; It should be completed by 2014.
One other very exciting bit of news. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is starting to make improvements on the RiverWalk West, running from Joe Louis Arena to Riverside Park (about 2 miles), just past the Ambassador Bridge. They will begin by improving the old Free Press publishing site, adding three new pathways to the river, lighting and security, while repairing the riverfront path and guardrails.

In case you missed the meeting, it is on-line. You may want to skip the intro and jump to the 5 minute mark.

Video streaming by Ustream

Dequindre Cut west? A Corktown to RiverWalk trail

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

There are rail lines heading east from the Michigan Central Station. They slope below ground and enter the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, which connects with Windsor.

There used to be rail lines next to and on top of this tunnel. Their absence opens the door for a greenway not unlike the Dequindre Cut.

While this greenspace is above the rail tunnel, it’s still below the roads it crosses: Rosa Parks, Lafayette, and Fort Street. And that’s the charm of this concept. One could get on the trail and get right on to the river. It would be somewhat short bike superhighway.

Here’s what makes this idea even sweeter. Canadian Pacific wants to add a third rail tunnel paralleling the existing pair. (The existing tunnels aren’t tall enough to accommodate double-stacked rail cars.) If that project goes through, Canadian Pacific might be willing to help with the greenway’s construction.

What do you think?

Keep in mind that the West RiverWalk hasn’t been constructed yet, but it will be in the coming years.

 

Governor Rick Snyder: Bikes the talk in Detroit

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

At yesterday’s groundbreaking, George Jackson of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation spoke of his appreciation for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “He walks the talk.” Jackson said.

This day would be different.

As the governor noted later, today he would bike the talk — on the Dequindre Cut from Milliken State Park to Eastern Market — on a bike rented from the Wheelhouse Detroit.

I had the opportunity to give a Detroit Greenways button to the Governor, which he prompted pin to his jacket. We also discussed the Dequindre Cut and biking in Detroit. He asked if there were other places to ride in the city and if there was a bike map. I noted that we’re working on some maps now and that Detroit is among the nation’s most bike friendly due to the overbuilt road network.

I also spoke with him about the New International Trade Crossing. I asked if he would work with us to make sure the constructed bridge includes the paved shoulders (for bicyclists) and sidewalk that are in the approved current design — and encourage the Canadians to do the same. He sounded quite positive and asked me to contact his office with the details.

Milliken Park expansion

Governor Snyder was in Detroit for the groundbreaking of the Globe Trading Building. This historic structure will become the DNR’s Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center.

“The Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center project is an exciting next step in fulfilling a vision for Detroit’s Riverfront and serves as a shining example of what city and state, public and private partnerships and collaboration can achieve,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This is what place making is all about. And the project will help generate additional economic development and neighborhood revitalization that are core to Detroit’s and Michigan’s comeback.”

“The goal of everyone involved in this venture is to create a downtown destination where people living in or visiting an urban area can experience the adventure and excitement of Michigan’s great outdoors, gain confidence in participating in outdoor recreation activities, and understand more about protecting our state’s unique natural resources,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We feel the Globe Building project provides the right hub for outdoor experiences and fits that niche perfectly.”

This is going to be a tremendous asset at the intersection of two great greenways: the Dequindre Cut and Detroit RiverWalk.

During the 2011 RiverDays event, someone asked me when the city was going to tear down that old brick building. I promptly responded and told him about the DNR’s plans to revitalize it. They didn’t believe me. I recalled that transaction as the Governor spoke yesterday.

From the Detroit News:

“I want everyone to remember what that looks like today,” said Snyder during a press conference at Milliken State Park, gesturing across the street to the abandoned warehouse. “So when we come back and see what it looks like, we can see what the power of working together can do and the opportunity to reinvent Michigan and the opportunity to reinvent Detroit.”

The Free Press also published this article on the event and building.

Detroit RiverWalk community meeting, groundbreaking & love letters

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Perhaps you’ve seen Mt. Elliott Park fenced off for construction or watched the heavy equipment remediating the soil at the Uniroyal site. There’s much work being done on the Detroit RiverWalk right now.

To update the community, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is hosting a meeting form 6pm to 8pm on Wednesday, October 17th at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources. The building is on the Detroit RiverWalk at 200 Walker Street.

It’s a free event, but you need to RSVP by October 12th by emailing info@detroitriverfront.org or calling (313) 566-8248.

Globe building groundbreaking

The city of Detroit, DEGC, and DNR and hosting a groundbreaking event for the new Outdoor Adventure and Discover Center at the Globe Trading building. This event is on Saturday, October 6th at 10:30am. The Globe Trading building is at 1900 Atwater Street or more commonly recognized as the large brick structure at the intersection of the Dequindre Cut and Atwater.

What’s this building becoming? According to the DNR, “With hands-on experiences in everything from archery to ziplining, the Outdoor Adventure & Discovery Center will become a base camp for residents and visitors seeking a destination for fun and fitness.” We’re in!

There will be a bike on the Dequindre Cut and a complimentary lunch after the groundbreaking. RSVP by emailing munsond@michigan.gov or by calling (517) 241-0341.

DNR seeking love letters

The DNR will be burying a time capsule at the groundbreaking and they are seeking submissions.

The DNR is looking for stories, sentiment, and visions for the future that can be included in a time capsule that will be buried on the grounds of the Outdoor Adventure & Discovery Center. Submit your Love Letter by October 1 and become part of Detroit’s legacy. Detroit Riverfront Love Letters can be sent via email to Erik Thornbury at ThornburyE@michigan.gov.

You have until Monday to submit your best work!

Updates: Detroit RiverWalk, Belle Isle and more

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Much of this is older news and others, like Mode Shift have done a fine job covering last month’s RiverWalk announcements. We’ll just in some gaps and clear up some misconceptions.

In case you missed it, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Governor Rick Snyder and others broke ground more sections of the RiverWalk. More specifically, the Mt. Elliott Park makeover is underway. Not much has begun yet except for some construction fencing, but that will change soon.

As we mentioned, Mode Shift wrote a very good article on this event, as did the Free Press, Detroit News, and Click on Detroit (with video.)

The Governor has shown great interest as well and made this statement.

It’s a win for all Michiganders. The riverfront in Detroit coming back is a great thing for the citizens of Detroit and for all Michiganders. I encourage anyone in our state to come down and enjoy the experience. I’m looking forward to going for a bike ride myself one of these days.

Saddle up, Governor. Summer’s coming to an end.

The Governor continued his comments by stressing the importance of placemaking, which he views as a combination of “economic development, environmentalism, and community all coming together.” Former DNR Director Rodney Stokes has been transferred to the Governor’s office to work on placemaking, including Milliken State Park, the Globe Trading Building, and Belle Isle. This is a very positive move as Stokes is a former Detroit Recreation Department director and has put a priority on engaging urban youth in the outdoors.

Snyder also applauds the Detroit RiverWalk‘s public-private partnership model, which he is also pushing for the new Detroit River bridge.

The Uniroyal site just east of Mt. Elliott Park continues to be cleaned. With some luck this work will be completed so that the RiverWalk connection to the Belle Isle bridge can be started next year.

That $44 million that was announced at the groundbreaking is funding we’ve already mentioned in earlier stories. Only now is the Conservancy able to spend it.

Some media stories have said this is the “final phase” or that these project will complete the RiverWalk. No, they won’t. They’ll complete the eastern portion of the RiverWalk. The western portion from Joe Louis Arena to Riverside Park, just beyond the Ambassador Bridge still needs to be completed.

Belle Isle

The state’s interest in helping Detroit with Belle Isle has gotten much press and attention. There’s both strong support, opposition and misinformation.

Here’s some questions and answers:

Q. The Belle Isle assistance is in city’s consent agreement. Does that mean it’s a done deal?

A. No. According to city councilmember we spoke with, it’s only an affiliated project. It’s not part of the agreement.

Q. If Belle Isle were part of Milliken State Park, would there be an admission fee?

A. No, but motor vehicles on the island would probably have to have a Recreation Passport. The Passport costs $10 a year and is valid in all state parks and state forests. It’s a bargain and costs less than a few gallons of gas.

Q. Does this bring Detroiter’s state tax dollars back to the city?

A. No. Since 2004, state parks have not received state taxpayer funding. Councilman Gary Brown, Deadline Detroit, and others have been mentioning this as a benefit, but they’re not correct.

There have been many concerns voiced about the state having a long term lease on the Belle Isle. We’re not concerned. Leases can be written to say what the state can and cannot do. It doesn’t mean the state will be building condos. These leases are common.

In fact there’s a similar lease just down the river. That land under Milliken State Park? It’s city land that’s on a long term lease to the state.

How’s that working out?