New Partnership Announced in Detroit Riverfront and Joe Louis Greenway Projects

The Unified Greenway Partnership will raise funds to complete both projects and create an endowment to care for them long-term.
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Rendering courtesy of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

The City of Detroit, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and the Joe Louis Greenway Partnership have joined forces in a first-of-its-kind alliance that will help raise funds to complete and maintain the Detroit River revitalization and the Joe Louis Greenway.

The announcement of this alliance, which has been dubbed the Unified Greenway Partnership, came about through a resolution and “Memorandum of Understanding” by the Detroit City Council that outlined a plan for partners to raise the money needed to complete the project as well as fund its future success.

On Jan. 26, The Neighborhood and Community Services Committee voted to advance the resolution to City Council, who adopted it on Jan. 31.

“This vision and scale of this public-private collaboration is unprecedented, as is putting in place a plan for perpetual stewardship,” Matt Cullen, Chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and a leader of the Unified Greenway campaign, said in a press release.

“Building on the Conservancy’s 20-year track record of transformative public spaces and community impact, the Unified Greenway Partnership will ensure that our investment in these great connected spaces is rooted in a sustainable promise that these special places will serve our community for generations.”

The partnership has already raised round $150 million in federal, state, and local philanthropic funds to contribute to the $350 million project, which includes $200 million to build the Joe Louis Greenway, $50 million for the Detroit Riverfront, and $100 million to create an endowment fund.

The City of Detroit is also set to donate $3 million a year to both the Joe Louis Greenway and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to support operations and general upkeep.

When the community development project is complete, the Joe Louis Greenway will stretch nearly 30 miles and link a system of area parks, trails, and other greenspaces to the riverfront, connecting 23 Detroit neighborhoods and into Highland Park, Hamtramck, and Dearborn. It is meant to expand the recreational opportunities in the city and surrounding area.

The ultimate goal is to develop a 5.5-mile riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park.

“Between our beautiful riverfront and the new Joe Louis Greenway, we are creating a world-class recreational asset for all Detroiters,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release. “This new partnership will help keep it beautiful for generations to come.” 

For more information about the Detroit River revitalization and the Joe Louis Greenway, visit detroitriverfront.org. Find even more community development news at HourDetroit.com.