These 6 Before And After Photos Show You Just How Far The Detroit Riverfront Has Come

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Detroit Riverfront Riverwalk

We’re big fans of the Detroit RiverWalk. Whether it is walking our dogs, enjoying the boats or talking with the people, the Detroit riverfront is a gem that has been reclaimed from heavy industry that blocked access to one of the city’s greatest attractions, the river.

They’re taking the initiative west to Rosa Parks, and near these photos private development is picking up. It’s great to see so much green that everyone will be able to use in the city. Below are photos of what they have already done that gets us excited about the future, courtesy of the Detroit Riverfront Conservatory, and above and the last photo were views we took.

Gabriel Richard Park by the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle State Park

Gabriel Richard Park Before and After

 Talon Center

Talon center before and after RiverWalk

 Civic Center over by Cobo Hall

Civic Center Before and After RiverWalk

The Dequindre Cut, a rails to trails reclamation

Dequindre Cut before and after

General Motors plaza by the GM Ren Cen

General Motors Plaza

Rivard Plaza by the carousel

Rivard Plaza

Oh.. And there’s one more thing

West RiverWalk Ambassador Bridge

Also, The West RiverWalk is now open! It spans west of the Central Business District from near the Riverfront Apartments to Rosa Parks Boulevard.

There’s still more work to do, obviously. Detroit is a city with a myriad of challenges that all of us are slogging through together. But sometimes it’s good to have perspective and remember just how far we’ve come.

  • Nobody has seen a greater community with such drive and determination. It ( Detroit) has never been as bad as people always said. I’ve been downriver my whole life. I never gave up, as so many before, and hopefully, after me. The Motor City is a part of me, living proof that when rock bottom comes, we pull out. We survive. That little flower growing in the sidewalk crack, that many of our nation has forgotten years ago.. has turned into a field, of hope, dreams, and prosperity. It’s been accomplished through us, of People, who stand today, and have stood together and pushed, pulled, fought and lost, but together as a community, we have told the world we are NOT gone, and do not plan on leaving anytime soon.

    • Its called the Broken Windows Theory. It states that maintaining the upkeep and appearance of an urban setting, and curtailing small crimes such as vandalism creates an atmosphere of order lawfulness that can discourage larger crimes from taking place. Basically, when things look like shit people treat them that way. But when things look like somebody cares about them, people are less likely to commit crimes in that place, because they believe that their wrongdoings are more likely to be noticed and confronted.

    • Actually the violent crime was down 15% in 2014 according to an annual national study shown on Channel 4 news. I live in the heart of the city. It’s changed dramatically just in the past few years.

  • Yes, I think planting flowers does, eventually, lead to ending violent crimes. It’s a start to bring more people, business, jobs, activity to the area. It’s a move in a positive direction, and people who have no hope or vision for Detroit should “pass”. Thanks for realizing that. Take your negativity elsewhere.

  • Great for downtown, however it’s the neighborhoods away from the city center that need help. Yes, there are a few that are nice and well kept, but the majority have empty, dilapidated and/or burned out houses. I look out my front door and see half a dozen.

    • Those are turning around too, slowly but surly. It will take time, but things are looking up everywhere.

  • I get what your saying, Jeff, although all efforts to improve the community will reduce negativity in many ways. The violent crimes that are committed aren’t going to stop taking place simply because someone planted a garden… The community needs to put a focus specifically on the people that are living in those violent areas and those who are committing those crimes. We also need a more effective and aggressive police force in those areas. In the meantime, continue to support all development forward, regardless of it’s form and soon violent crimes will be on a decline. Happy new year!

  • We’ve been downtown for the past 10 years experiencing the changes 1st hand. It’s beautiful to see the seeds of Detroit starting to blossom and flourish.

  • I think we should equally divide the city of Detroit into sections and assign each section to a suburb and have the suburb gather volunteers to go into that section and make a difference. Make it a challenge to see which suburb can make the biggest difference. Art, clean up, restoration, police & fire & civic involvement, schools, etc.

    • In Ireland, and maybe other countries, there are contests similar to what you might be suggesting. Every town we drove through was clean and colorful. Are there already established neighborhoods in Detroit?

  • I see the changes going on in Detroit, and it is great. I dont understand why it is the suburbs responsibility to fix it up and/or take a section and make it nice. How many times have the suburbanites been told it is not their city? also been told to stay out. Just like the schools and areas surrounding them are fixed up by volunteers from the suburbs. How about Detroit residents get off their butts and help revitalize their own city? Why should volunteers from the north clean up your messes? Once we have finished it will not be maintained and will fall back into the crap hole it was unfortunately. I wish I was wrong about this, however history has proven otherwise. Detroit, quit expecting handouts and get up and do your share.

  • It all has to do with who people put in office. If you elect another mayor like the Democrat , Coleman Young then the city will go down hill again. Until people of Detroit stop and elect the right people, I will not invest my hard earned money there.

  • Still mainly just a sidewalk. I’d love to sit in a restaurant or bar with a view of the river. Do something with the warehouse district since it was emptied out for a nonexistent casino.

  • Still too many people getting free handouts from the government. Some of us have to work to pay for that.

  • It’s “interesting” how nobody seems to want a delapidated Detroit in their back yard, but aren’t willing to chip in and help it improve. And then they piss and moan when the issues inherent in city environments make their way out of a falling-apart city into the suburbs. Did suburbanites *cause* Detroit’s problems? No, not entiresly (except for the whole flight away from the city, which I can understand). Is it the responsibility of the suburbs to “fix” the city? No, not solely. But stopping with the Detroit-bashing, engaging in some investment back into the city either in terms of time, talents, or treasures (or all three of these) will benefit everyone. Don’t leave it up to the politicians alone, but elect those who are willing to be part of the solution. Don’t leave ti up to the Detroiters alone, but support those who are striving to make a difference. Don’t leave it up to the suburbs alone, but lend a hand where you can. Stop buying the old script that says Detroit’s not your city. How does that script benefit you or anyone else? Detroit is everybody’s opportunity.

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