The Daffodil Luncheon on Belle Isle at the Detroit Yacht Club Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
Our Speaker: Mark Wallace, CEO of Detroit Riverfront Conservancy
"The Revitalization of the Detroit Riverfront.”
Brief History of Riverfront Development: The city of Detroit exists because of the Detroit River. Important as river is, the Detroit's riverfront was often taken for granted. Riverfront factories and warehouses fell into decay. When the Renaissance Center was built in 1977, it turned its' back to the river. In 1996, General Motors bought and began renovation of the Renaissance Center. The Detroit Riverfront was being rediscovered.
In 2003, the non-profit public/private Detroit Riverfront Conservatory was formed to developing public access to Detroit's riverfront. Plans were made for five and a half miles of parks and walkways spanning from "Bridge to Bridge" from Belle Isle Bridge to Ambassador Bridge. A walkable green space would provide the citizens of Detroit with a valuable recreational resource. At the same time, it would attract economic growth.
Work was soon started on Detroit's east riverfront. By 2018, 85% of the three mile riverwalk, from Hart Plaza to Gabriel Richard Park, was completed. Over three million people visit each year to walk, bike and enjoy activities on the river. New housing and other developments have been sprouting up. The final link will soon be done when work is finished on the Uniroyal site, west of Belle Isle.
West riverfront development will soon start in earnest. Twenty-two acres of riverfront land has been acquired. In October 2018, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a $200 million investment in the park. West Riverfront Park is now Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park. The park design chosen is by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, landscape architects of the noted Brooklyn Bridge Park. To learn more click on link below