DETROIT (WWJ) – Mayor Dave Bing, Governor Rick Snyder and Senator Carl Levin have announced a $44-million state and federal commitment to complete Detroit’s East Riverwalk.

The combined state and federal money will rebuild the area between the Belle Isle Bridge and Joe Louis Arena, connecting the existing three-and-a-half mile Riverfront to plots that have been unused for years.

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At Monday’s check presentation at Mt. Elliot Park, Levin said it’s time for Detroit to take back the riverfront.

“It’s a dream that has been a part of so many decades, to finally get our river back,” he said.

The plan is to gain access to the land along the West Riverfront first, Levin said.

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Detroit Riverfront Conservancy president CEO Faye Nelson said the Riverfront will go through the old Uniroyal Tire plant site.

“Once remediation is complete, we are prepared then to develop the public space portion of the site which concludes the Riverwalk connecting to Gabriel Richard Park,” she said.

Ernest Taylor, who jogs on the Riverfront regularly, said he looks forward to the day he can make his run along the expected 5-mile stretch along the river uninterrupted.

“I’m looking forward to even when they can hook up to the Ambassador Bridge,” Taylor said.

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Work on the East Riverfront will begin this month and is expected to be finished by late next year.