DETROIT – (April 15, 2010) – Construction is underway on the Midtown Greenway, a four phase, two-mile greenway trail that will circle through Detroit’s University Cultural Center, Wayne State University and Medical Center and Brush Park districts.
Today at a press conference held at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, organizers officially broke ground to signify the start of the first of four phases of construction. When completed, the linked trails will provide eight miles of continuous greenways, enabling people to go from Wayne State University through the Eastern Market to the Detroit Riverfront.
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, through its GreenWays Initiative program, along with The Kresge Foundation, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus funds), Michigan State University Land Policy Institute, First American Title Insurance Company, SAFETEA-LU and Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) are providing the funding for the Midtown Greenway.
“We are honored to be part of the collaboration that is helping connect Detroit,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “Today marks the start of another greenways project that will become another amazing addition to the city. We look forward to the Midtown Greenway becoming a destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts and local residents to safely travel and enjoy what our city has to offer.”
“This urban greenway will offer a safe and convenient route for pedestrians and cyclists, and encourage exploration of the museums, galleries, restaurants and other businesses along its route, transforming Midtown into a more walkable community,” said Tom Woiwode, director of the GreenWays Initiative of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.
A lane of traffic will be removed on John R in Phase 1 to widen the walkway and reduce traffic speeds. The greenway trail will have a colorful, patterned surface to increase visibility and to emphasize the creative character of the neighborhood, as well as improved ADA crosswalks at each corner. Landscaping with three-season interest will be used as a buffer to separate vehicle traffic from the greenway, adding numerous new trees, shrubs and perennials to the trail, which will dramatically green the environment. New wayfinding signage also will direct visitors to the institutions and other points of interest located along the trail.
Amenities along the Loop include: LED pedestrian lights, light wands and bollards, as well as in-ground spotlights; dual drinking fountains for humans and dogs, and dog waste receptacles; bike rings and bike lockers; benches and trash receptacles; and public art at designated sites along the trail.
“One of our main goals with the development of the Midtown Greenway is to reclaim the rights-of-way for pedestrians by creating a widened walkway, improving ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) crosswalks, and adding pedestrian traffic signals,” said University Cultural Center Association President Susan Mosey. “By adding such amenities along the route as outdoor seating, pocket parks and pet-friendly features, this trail will contribute to the quality of life and the lifestyle of the community.”
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations committed to the future of southeast Michigan. The Foundation works to improve the region’s quality of life by connecting those who care with causes that matter. The Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Community Foundation has distributed more than $415 million through more than 35,500 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair and Livingston counties. For more information, visit www.cfsem.org.
Founded in 1976, the University Cultural Center Association (UCCA) was organized to support the physical maintenance and development of the Midtown and to enhance public awareness, appreciation and use of the area. Today, the UCCA has over 60 members representing Midtown’s cultural, academic, medical and service institutions, corporations, businesses and community organizations. Over 300 representatives from member organizations actively participate in UCCA activities through committees, which include Community Development, Facility and Maintenance, Beautification, Security, Collaborative Programming, Marketing, and Noel Night. For more information, visit http://detroitmidtown.com.