The city of Detroit today announced efforts to unify Roosevelt Park, which is currently bisected by Vernor Highway and a small section of 15h Street, to make it safer for residents to enjoy the public space without the interruption of vehicle traffic.
The park is known for its greenspace next to Michigan Central Station and sits in the city’s Hubbard-Richard and Corktown neighborhoods. The unification will require the rerouting of Vernor Highway, including permanently closing the section that splits the park. The new section redesignated as Vernor Highway will be 16th Street from Michigan Avenue to Vernor.
At the south end of the park, Ford Motor Co. is building a mobility and innovation campus centered at the former Michigan Central Station. The restoration of station currently is in the middle of phase two of the restoration, the most labor-intensive part of the project. Work includes fixing the steel structure and repairing eight acres of masonry. Ford is still on track to complete the station by the end of 2022.
Ford’s campus revolves around four buildings: Michigan Central Station; the Book Depository, which sits just east of the station and is being revitalized into a maker space; The Factory, which is home to the company’s autonomous vehicle business unit; and a newly constructed development to the west of the station.
Overall, Ford’s vision includes creating an open platform for innovators, startups, entrepreneurs, and other partners from around the world to develop, test, and launch new mobility solutions on real-world streets, in real-world situations.
“Roosevelt Park is just another example of the City of Detroit Department of Public Works (DPW) collaborating with other City departments to beautify and make safe our city resources for residents to enjoy,” says Dayo Akinyemi, DPW deputy director. “Our mission is to partner with everyone including the residents to ensure we maximize placemaking opportunities for our citizens.”
The city received feeback from neighboring residents at the Roosevelt Park Community Engagement Festival last weekend and through a survey available here, which closes Oct. 31. Local business owners were also engaged in the process and have decided to remain open during the project.
“After being in business for 40 years, (I’m) excited for this new development in the city and its potential to open up access to all of the diverse neighborhoods in this area,” says Bob DiMattia, who owns Mexicantown Restaurant.
As part of the road infrastructure improvements, Ford will rebuild the Vernor viaduct just west of the train station, which will result in temporary road closures through October 15. The city states the goal of these projects is to improve both locations to make them assets for the community.
“As a result of thorough community engagement we’re glad to begin the work of unifying Roosevelt Park and continuing to get feedback from residents on their vision for the new park,” says Brad Dick, Detroit’s group executive of services and infrastructure.