MONROE (WWJ/AP) – A southeastern Michigan city that played a role in the War of 1812 aims to create a historical corridor to leverage its links to the past and lure tourists.
The city of Monroe and Monroe County Historical Society are unveiling a master plan dubbed the River Raisin Heritage Corridor-East. It envisions creating a visitor center for the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, reconstructing the old French Town settlement, developing a riverfront area with shops and restaurants, and building a performance amphitheater, according to The Monroe Evening News.
City officials say the proposal builds on the battlefield park, which opened in 2011 and is part of the National Park System. They used long-term planning seed money to develop the proposal, which they see as a way to capitalize on the area’s historical and environmental assets.
Other elements of the plan include creating a park and French chapel, and staging military re-enactments. The plan also calls for the reconstruction of some traffic circulation patterns to eliminate the need for walkers to cross busy roads near the battlefield area, such as N. Dixie Highway.
Officials say the plan could take years to fully implement and represents an investment of more than $90 million, but such a corridor likely would draw hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
The plan will need city approval and backers also will seek grants from public and private sources. An open house and information session is scheduled for Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Monroe City Hall, located at 120 E. First Street.
The Battle of the River Raisin in January 1813 saw about 1,300 British soldiers and their American Indian allies overwhelm almost 1,000 U.S. troops, killing or capturing all but a handful. The battle did not change the course of the War of 1812, and Michigan was reclaimed by the young United States.
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