The area of Southwest Detroit known as Delray and its surrounding area is about to look a lot greener and become much more useful to residents with a demo and a project in progress.
The expansion and revitalization of Riverside Park expansion took another step forward recently as the City of Detroit began the demolition of its old Animal Control Building, which for decades has occupied a 3-acre parcel adjacent to the park.
Detroit Animal Care and Control is how headquartered on the SB Chrysler Freeway Service Drive, north of Grand Boulevard. Once the former site is cleared, work will begin on new dog park and Skateboard Park that will occupy the land and formally become a part of Riverside.
The Animal Control site is the second parcel of land that to be added to Riverside Park as part of a multi-million dollar expansion and renovation. Last year, the City acquired the 4.8-acre parcel of land to the west of Riverside Park where a Detroit New warehouse once stood. As part of a Land Exchange Agreement with the Detroit International Bridge Company, the DIBC demolished the building – two years earlier than required – and deeded the property to the city.
Construction started last year on Phase One of the Riverside Park renovation. A new basketball court, soccer field, playground and picnic shelter are under construction and a new softball diamond is already open. The work is being paid for by $3 million that the DIBC paid the city as part of their agreement.
In addition to the Phase Two work to take place on the Animal Control site, Phase Three work will begin this summer on the site of the old Detroit News warehouse.
Those improvements will include an amphitheater, a sledding hill and open space. Phases four and five will follow, seeing more playgrounds, a festival promenade and the re-opening of the Riverside Park boat launch.
City leaders have worked closely with the Riverside Park Community Advisory Council in planning the park. The Advisory Council is composed of southwest Detroiters, some of whom live just steps from Riverside Park.
Photos courtesy of the city of Detroit.