Detroit’s Southwest Greenway, a paved trail running trail that provides critical connections between the Detroit Riverfront, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, Michigan Central, Roosevelt Park and Corktown, officially opened with the support of several CMF members.
The Southwest Greenway, supported by CMF members the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation (RCWJF), William Davidson Foundation, Gilbert Family Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and the Hudson-Webber Foundation, connects the Detroit Riverfront to Michigan Central and the emerging Joe Louis Greenway.
It will provide easy access to the riverfront, connect area neighborhoods and be a public space for Detroit residents and visitors.
The grand opening included an announcement of the Unified Greenway Campaign, a collaborative effort to help raise $350 million to complete the Detroit Riverfront and fund the construction of the 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway, supported by CMF members.
The greenway will connect 23 Detroit neighborhoods and expand recreational opportunities by connecting parks and neighborhoods across the city, allowing residents to travel safely from McNichols to the riverfront through a combination of new trails, on-street protected bike lanes and links to existing trails.
“The William Davidson Foundation is proud to be among the many partners involved in this transformational effort to further enhance the community we call home,” Darin McKeever, president and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation. “This Detroit community raised the bar for welcoming world-class public spaces when it set the ambitious vision for the Detroit Riverfront 20-plus years ago. We believe the Joe Louis Greenway and the Unified Greenway Campaign will raise that bar even higher - demonstrating once again how great public spaces improve quality of life for neighborhood residents and drive broader economic development for our city and region.”
The Southwest Greenway and the Joe Louis Greenway are part of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s goal of completing 5.5 miles of revitalized riverfront.
As CMF reported, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park, a 22-acre park located on Detroit’s West Riverfront, is supported by CMF members RCWJF, William Davidson Foundation and DTE Energy Foundation. The park is expected to open in 2024.
RCWJF is among the Unified Greenway Founding Partners along with the William Davidson Foundation, Gilbert Family Foundation, WKKF and Hudson-Webber Foundation.
“This is a historic moment as we join together to celebrate what has been built on our Riverfront over the last 20 years, an incredible vision to connect neighborhoods across our city and a collaboration forged across public and private partners that will ensure this Unified Greenway will provide enjoyment today and for generations to come,” David Egner, president and CEO of RCWJF and CMF trustee said. "In our effort to better connect this region and its people to one another through the Foundation’s Parks & Trails initiative, the Detroit Riverfront and the Joe Louis Greenway are at the center of it all, uniting the city of Detroit and its neighboring communities. We are proud to have been a supporter from the initial framework and community engagement to the capital support and sustainability.”
In addition to supporting the campaign, the Gilbert Family Foundation is establishing an accompanying economic development strategy.
“Strong communities begin with stable housing but come to life in vibrant, connected public spaces. This unprecedented partnership and investment into the Joe Louis Greenway will create more connectivity for Detroiters – connectivity to public space, jobs and each other, Laura Grannemann, executive director of the Gilbert Family Foundation, said.
Read the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s full press release.