From Flat Rock to Northville: New park and miles of trailways announced throughout Wayne County

A new park will be constructed in southwest Detroit, just one of several planned greenway infrastructure improvements planned for the region’s downriver communities and the rest of Wayne County.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has provided the Friends of the Detroit River, as well as several community partners, a $1.9 million grant to strengthen, extend, and enhance the Iron Belle Trail. Once completed, the trail is planned to stretch from the western tip of the Upper Peninsula to southeastern Michigan, covering 48 counties and more than 2,000 miles of trailways.

"This project provides long-awaited plans to fill gaps in southeast Michigan greenways and will implement some exciting features along the way. It will greatly increase the quality of life and recreation throughout the area," says David Howell, board chairman for Friends of the Detroit River.

Among the projects announced is a plan to convert a neglected parcel in Detroit’s 48217 zip code, the city’s most industrial, into the Fort Street Bridge Interpretive Park. The park will act as both a hub for several area trailways while also serve to honor the 1932 Ford Hunger March, a significant episode in the country’s labor movement credited with leading to the formation of the United Auto Workers union.

Other projects include more than 3.5 miles of additional trailways built to fill in gaps along the trail; improved road crossings at 17 points along the trail; a marketing and branding campaign; added gateway and entryway features; capacity building and project sustainability efforts; and a Hines Park Connector Framework Plan, which would connect downtown Detroit to Dearborn’s Hines Park gateway, extending the trail to Hines Park’s conclusion in Northville.

Construction is set to begin immediately, ultimately connecting the communities of Flat Rock and Northville, and all points in between, to Detroit’s Belle Isle.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.