The Rehabilitation of Detroit’s Waterfront is set to get a makeover as the city works to re-establish itself and return itself to the days when people lived, worked and enjoyed the city. Twenty-two acres of prime riverfront in Detroit will soon become its new front yard so to speak as revitalization gets underway. The riverfront spans 5.5 miles and is in the eastern part of the city.
Currently, over 3 miles of the new Riverwalk has been completed and along it features spaces for events such as entertainment, cultural locations, hotels and parks as well as sculpture gardens. The areas is located in the more stable areas of the city, however, prior to the revitalization project, the park was barren with little offered. It’s previously housed a large warehouse owned by the Detroit Free Press that was torn down after being purchased by the Conservancy in 2014, who then installed a temporary park.
The Revitalization Project
The process towards this areas revitalization has been a community affair with both local and professional input being critical to the process. The conservancy accessed the expertise of area residents to help with its design and the spaces they would like to see. Many of those providing input traveled to other city waterfronts to see what become of the space with trips to Chicago, New York, Boston and others. Once all information was collected, and input received, the design process began.
The plan is to include a variety of pavilions along the waterfront to accommodate various social activities such as those for children and seniors. The goal is to create an urban environment that is considered cutting-edge and becomes a draw to the city to generate interest for companies to open businesses and people to choose Detroit as their home city. The pavilions will include pools for swimming lessons and playgrounds so as to create a multi-generational space that all can enjoy and be proud of.
Park to Include Pier for Fishing, Hiking Trails and Beach
The master plan will include a fishing pier, not a common inclusion in most urban planning initiatives. Also expected is a large 3-acre playground that will provide space by the beach for sports and other activities. The fishing pier will face out onto the river, and its topography will have dunelike areas that act as a floating stage of sorts.
The plan is being dubbed “Seedling Park” as the city works to clean up its tarnished images as an unsafe city littered with abandoned houses and high crime rates. The park will be completed in three stages, the first of those will include the creation of large green plant walls that will be used to help educate the public on the importance of living green in an urban area. The other remaining stages will focus on the construction of the planned inclusions and buildings as well as the pier and playground. It also will see the addition of an amphitheater as well as pedestrian paths that connect to various areas of the city.