Streetscape improvements made over the last four years in downtown Detroit have been enthusiastically embraced by pedestrian crowds, and more will be coming later this year. Support from the federal government's economic stimulus package will enhance plans that were already in place for significant projects near lower Woodward and Greektown.
Based on the success of streetscapes on Woodward, Washington Blvd. and Broadway, the DDA has ambitious plans underway to expand those improvements to downtown cross streets.
Federal funds will be used for an estimated $1.23 million makeover for Michigan Avenue from Cass to Campus Martius. The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will enhance the streetscapes in Greektown using an additional $1.5 million of federal stimulus funds, working with the City of Detroit. The DDA will install decorative and scored sidewalks, new streetlights, bike racks, trash receptacles and trees on Monroe Street from St. Antoine Street to Randolph Street, and Brush Street from Lafayette Boulevard to Gratiot Avenue.
The DDA is managing the Harmonie Park/Paradise Valley improvement project as well. This summer the focus is on adding a stage and historical walkway at the park. The DDA will also be improving the infrastructure and landscaping on the plaza. In addition, new entry gateways will be installed at various intersections surrounding the park and plaza.
Besides the significant investments downtown, DEGC project managers are also rebuilding streets in the Fox Creek District, north of Jefferson on the city's far east side and in Jefferson Village nearby. The DEGC is also spearheading major improvements along the East Riverfront and the Dequindre Cut Greenway.
In all, DEGC is managing more than $7 million in projects expected to start this year. George W. Jackson, DEGC president and CEO said, "We know that many private developers are waiting for the financial community to free up sources of credit before they can proceed with their plans in Detroit. But that's no reason to stop the important improvements we can make to provide a great environment for visitors and new investments."
Malik Goodwin is the vice president of project manager for the DEGC.