$44 Million Grant Helps Detroit RiverWalk Redevelopment

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor In an effort to wrap up the remaking of the 5.5 mile RiverWalk that connects the Ambassador Bridge and Belle Isle, the city of Detroit received a total of $44 million in state and federal grants as financial support for the final stage of construction. According to Detroit Free Press, [...]

In an effort to wrap up the remaking of the 5.5 mile RiverWalk that connects the Ambassador Bridge and Belle Isle, the city of Detroit received a total of $44 million in state and federal grants as financial support for the final stage of construction.

According to Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (a nonprofit agency that operates and maintains the Detroit RiverWalk) received a $15 million grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, followed by a $29 million federal highway appropriation from the state’s Department of Transportation.

Part of the $44 million funding will be used to redevelop Mount Elliott Park, which will get a new Great Lakes Schooner theme park by the end of 2013, as well as a separate play area, new landscaping, LED lighting and an open pavilion. Also included in the project’s last stage are some updates at the Gabriel Richard Park, where developers will add a new parking lot and a bicycle path. Two small parcels of land on either side of the Chene Park will be redeveloped and integrated in the RiverWalk so that visitors will not have to take a detour to get to Atwater Street, notes the Free Press.

The city’s RiverWalk is part of the Detroit International Riverfront that borders the Detroit River and includes several public parks, restaurants, shops and residential and commercial buildings. For decades the area had been a soaring view for Detroiters because of its vacant and decrepit structures, but in recent years the conservancy agency has been focusing on transforming the Detroit Riverfront into a new recreational space for city dwellers with financial help coming from private investors—such as General Motors who, in 2002, awarded $135 for the redevelopment project—and federal grants.

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