Detroit Celebrates Opening of New Southwest Greenway and an Additional $70 Million in Support for Unified Greenway Campaign

The Southwest Greenway trail is the latest public space completed in the larger Detroit Riverfront and Joe Louis Greenway projects.
Photograph courtesy of the Downtown Detroit Partnership

Detroit’s newest public space is officially open. The Southwest Greenway — a paved trail connecting the Detroit Riverfront, Michigan Central, and the Joe Louis Greenway — is the most recent project completed for the Unified Greenway Campaign.

“The grand opening of the Southwest Greenway is the perfect occasion to celebrate the tremendous progress of the Unified Greenway Campaign, which will complete and sustain the Detroit Riverfront and Joe Louis Greenway for generations,” Detroit Riverfront Conservancy chairman and Unified Greenway Campaign architect Matt Cullen said in a press release.

“The early success of this campaign thanks to our funding partners, together with the City of Detroit’s commitment of ongoing support, is historic for our community and is nationally significant in the development of urban public spaces,” Cullen added.

The campaign, which announced an additional $70 million in funding during the Southwest Greenway grand opening celebration on Wednesday, is a collaborative effort between the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the City of Detroit, the Joe Louis Greenway Partnership, and numerous donors to raise $350 million for the completion of the Detroit Riverfront, the construction of the Joe Louis Greenway, and the maintenance of both projects when finished.

The $70 million in contributions raises the campaign’s funding to a $229 million total in less than two years, making the Unified Greenway Campaign one of the most successful campaigns in the country, according to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

“We are proud to partner with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Mayor Duggan to create a public space for the community to enjoy,” Michigan Central chair and Ford Motor Company Fund president Mary Culler said in the press release. “The Southwest Greenway will connect Detroit to all that we are building at Michigan Central and will help strengthen community bonds by joining the west side, east side, and northern neighborhoods of our city.”

The $8 million Southwest Greenway trail runs from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park on West Jefferson to Bagley Street, connecting the riverfront and surrounding Detroit neighborhoods to make the greenway visible and easily accessible for residents and visitors.

The city expects the Southwest Greenway to become one of the most popular sections of the 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway path due to its direct connection to the Ralph Wilson Centennial Park, according to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in the press release.

“I have been anticipating the opening of the Southwest Greenway, connecting communities and creating scenic opportunities for Detroiters and visitors to experience every pocket of our great city,” Detroit City Council president Mary Sheffield said in the press release.

“I am grateful for all of the donors and partners that worked tirelessly and invested the funding to bring this amazing vision to life,” Sheffield said. “It will truly become one of Detroit’s crown jewels for generations to come.”

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