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Friday, May 8, 2015

Taking Steps to Make Detroit a Better City: The Riverfront Park 2015 Status Report

Riverside Park is being redeveloped with a plan to reopen

One of Councilman Cushingberry’s goals when he got hired by the people was to reopen Riverside Park for sustainable public use.  The announcement of the plans by Mayor Duggan is a culmination of effort with Alicia Bradford Director of the Department of Recreation and the Mayor’s office.

The agreement between the City of Detroit and the Ambassador Bridge Company is summarized as follows:

The Ambassador Bridge Company will give the City of Detroit 4.8 acers of prime water front property and $3 million dollars. Pending MDEQ and Detroit City Council approval, the $3 million will be immediately invested back into the park in our Phase 1 development plan starting fall 2015.

Starting fall 2015 the City will perform the following:
  1. Convert an adjacent 3.4 acre parcel into park land.
  2. Build a New Baseball Diamond, Soccer field and multi-use play areas.
  3. Build a New Riverfront Playscape
  4. Install new benches, picnic tables and shelter
  5. Improve Waterfront Promenade and Landscaping

Future Plans for Riverside Park

Subject to approval of State and Federal regulators, the City of Detroit will give the bridge company title to 3 acres of undeveloped park land. Upon receiving title to the property the Bridge Company will give the City an additional $2 million dollars for the expansion of the park that includes a 100ft river-walk on the waterfront.  In addition to that, The Bridge Company will demolish the warehouse that is on 5 acre property adjacent to the park and grant development rights to the City of Detroit before the end of 2018.

Starting in 2018, the Phase II step includes the construction of waterfront property into Fisherman’s Overlook that will contain additional sea wall improvements, sidewalks, benches and extended promenade.

Once the Ambassador Bridge Company get additional approvals, the company intends to use the 3 acres to help them build a second span of the Ambassador Bridge next to the old bridge creating jobs, and spurring additional commerce and development in Detroit. Plans include restoring foot and bike traffic on the old bridge and, adding light rail transportation on the new one. The old bridge will be available for special events like parties and gatherings. Special rules will apply so that people will not dance in rhythm while they are standing on the span.

In addition to funding the expansion of Riverside Park, The Bridge Company has agreed to install 1000 windows in the vacant Michigan Central Train Station with an investment of more than $2 million dollars. While there will always be a few who are against the project because of a personal dislike for Mr. Maroun, the new publicly owned bridge should take care of the "Hate Maroun" crowd and, improve the Riverfront Park area at the same time. Given the resounding rejection of Proposal 1 to raise the State Sales Tax to fix the roads in May of 2015, alternative funding methods and business practices have to be considered in the Plan B, C, and D options for paying for a publicly owned bridge.

Contact your elected leaders that includes, President Obama, Senator Stabenow, Senator Peters, Gov. Snyder, Detroit City Council Members and the Mayor’s Offices to voice your support to beautify our City of Detroit.


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