DETROIT — Efforts to establish a recreational development project along Detroit’s east riverfront are getting a $44 million boost from the federal government and the state, officials announced Monday.
The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy said new partnerships and a series of construction projects will wrap up work in the area. They include the redevelopment of Mount Elliott Park, improvements at Gabriel Richard Park and expanding the reach of the Detroit RiverWalk.
The project is getting $29 million in federal highway money and a $15 million investment by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, officials said. It includes work at a site once home to a Uniroyal tire factory.
“Today’s announcement and funding puts the east riverfront close to the finish line,” Matt Cullen, chairman of the RiverFront Conservancy’s board, said in a statement.
For decades, Detroit’s east riverfront had been identified with dilapidated, vacant factories and old manufacturing sites, but years off work have transformed much of it for recreational use. It now includes William G. Milliken State Park & Harbor, located along the Detroit River near downtown.
The centerpiece of the development has been the RiverWalk promenade, which is popular with walkers, runners and bicyclists.
At Mount Elliot Park, plans call for shoreline improvements, a new plaza, pavilion, water feature and playscape. Gaps in the RiverWalk between downtown Detroit and Belle Isle also will be filled, including portions near Chene Park and along the former Uniroyal site.
“This is an important day in the development of our riverfront,” Mayor Dave Bing said. “It is also a testimony to what is possible when the public and private sectors come together and develop a plan with the will to make it happen.”
The federal money will be administered by the Michigan Department of Transportation, which will become co-project manager to help complete the work. Money from the Natural Resources Trust Fund will help the conservancy operate and maintain riverfront attractions.