Detroit’s East Riverfront To Transform Into ‘Vibrant Waterfront For All’ [PHOTOS]

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A portion of the Detroit riverfront east of downtown is getting a makeover that will preserve some land for public use and allow better access for residents and visitors.

Details were released Wednesday by the city’s Planning and Development office, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

Under the plan, the East Riverfront area will continue to be transformed from a former blighted, industrial area “into a vibrant waterfront for all Detroiters.” The boundaries of the East Riverfront district are St. Antoine to the west, East Grand Boulevard to the east, Larned Street to the north and the Detroit River to the south.

Improved Campau Greenway Concept (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

Improved Campau Greenway Concept (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

Parks and greenways will be added, Milliken State Park will be expanded, and a portion of Jefferson Avenue will get improved crosswalks and protected bicycle lanes. A promenade will also connect the city’s popular RiverWalk from Mt. Elliott Park to the MacArthur Bridge at Belle Isle.

Work is expected to start this year.

Plan Highlights

• Creating New Riverfront Parkland: A significant portion of the riverfront district between Atwater Street and the Detroit River and from Stroh River Place and Rivard Plaza will remain free from development forever with parks and open green space for the public to enjoy. Three sites south of Atwater Street – which were previously slated for private development – will become public park space. This will add nearly eight acres of additional park space to the East Riverfront.

New Parks -- Waterfront Improvement (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

New Parks — Waterfront Improvement (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

• Milliken Gets Bigger: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will expand Milliken State Park & Harbor between Chene Park and the harbor, and just east of the wetlands near Rivard Plaza.

• Increasing Community Access to Riverfront: Two new “Dequindre Cut” style greenways will be built along the East Riverfront to connect east side residents to the RiverWalk. The Joseph Campau Greenway, which runs from the Detroit River to Vernor, will receive new lighting, furnishings, paving and landscaping. The Beltline Greenway, located between Belleview and Beaufait, will connect from Kercheval Street to the Detroit River. Together, these greenways provide connectivity to the riverfront for thousands of residents living throughout several east side neighborhoods.

• Streetscape Improvements: E. Jefferson Avenue will be redesigned to be more attractive and bike and pedestrian friendly to provide a more seamless transition between the riverfront and the neighborhoods immediately to the north.Enhanced crosswalks at key intersections and new protected bike lanes will improve safety and mobility options and support local businesses. These improvements will make it easier for residents to cross Jefferson from surrounding neighborhoods north of Jefferson, giving them safe access to the enhanced riverfront.

Expanded Greenway Connectivity To Detroit River (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

Expanded Greenway Connectivity To Detroit River (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

Next Steps
The plan places particular importance on making significant enhancements to the riverfront that will happen in a relatively short turn-around time.

• Jefferson Avenue improvements will begin in 2017, with the redesign, beautification and implementation from Rivard Street to East Grand Boulevard for a more pedestrian and bike-friendly experience.

• The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will break ground in 2017 on a promenade that will connect the RiverWalk from Mt. Elliott Park to the Belle Isle Bridge along the 30-acre former Uniroyal site. The RiverWalk extension will also connect to Gabriel Richard Park.

• DEGC, on behalf of the City of Detroit will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) on March 2 for the Stone Soap building at 1490 Franklin. The RFP will envision an adaptive reuse of the historic structure with a mixed-use development that will increase density along the riverfront.

Franklin Street Heritage Area Concept (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

Franklin Street Heritage Area Concept (Credit: Detroit RiverFront Conservancy)

For more information about the revitalization of the East Riverfront, visit yourdetroiteastriverfront.org.

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