Work starts on Dequindre Cut's transformation

With brush-clearing in progress, the Dequindre Cut already looks different than it did earlier this summer. For starters, you can see more of its famous graffiti.

The depressed rail corridor is being transformed into a pedestrian and bike pathway that connects the East Riverfront to Eastern Market from Woodbridge to Gratiot. The Detroit Economic Growth Corp. has contracted with ABC Paving Co. to build the $3 million enhancement project, which is expected to be complete by May 31, 2008.

Once the one-mile stretch is completely cleared, four unused bridges will be demolished, although their vertical concrete abutments will remain in place in order to preserve their graffiti. "Unless it is obscene or offensive, our policy is to leave it in place," says DEGC project manager Michael Dempsey of the graffiti. "We also want to encourage new works to the extent that the artists are willing to do that -- as long as they pick up their aerosol cans after themselves!"

Over the winter, site preparation will take place with the bulk of the construction — paving, installation of lights and security cameras and landscaping — happening in the spring.

When more money is secured, amenities like benches and interpretive signage will be added to the Cut. The eventual hope is to extend the pathway, although the corridor north of Gratiot is privately owned. At the other end toward the river, the three blocks between Woodbridge and Atwater, known as the Dequindre Trail, are currently in design phase.

The Dequindre Cut will be maintained in perpetuity by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Source: Michael Dempsey, DEGC
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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