There is a lot of work being done on Belle Isle right now, and there is about to be even more at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. 

On Monday, the Detroit Historical Society broke ground on the first phase of a $4.9 million dollar outdoor enhancement project.

There will be four phases to the project. They’re expected to be finished by 2021. 

The key to this is that this is the first time since the maritime museum opened in 1960 that there has had work done to enhance the outdoor space around the building.

The Detroit Historical Society has raised $1.9 million to go towards the project and is still working to raise the remaining amount for the upgrades. 

The first phase focuses on the visitor experience around the Dossin Museum. L.S. Brinker Company will be doing the construction and SmithGroup is overseeing the design. The first phase is expected to be finished in November of 2019.

The first phase upgrades include:

  • A Lost Mariners Memorial with a garden, lights and seating. The focal point of the memorial will be the anchor from the Edmund Fitzgerald. 
  • A riverwalk with an observation telescope, a riverfront event patio, and a central lawn area that can be used for public and private events.
  • Better signage, pedestrian lighting, bike racks, benches, a cycle service station and a canine refresh station.  
  • A kayak launch with a soft shoreline to allow  access to the Detroit River.

Once the first phase is complete work will begin on the three remaining phases. 

Those include: 

  • A riverfront connector trail, like on the Detroit Riverwalk.
  • A historic landscape that will reflect the way Belle Isle was before it was developed. It  will also complement the Piet Oudolf garden. 
  • Improve the access to the museum from The Strand and the parking lot from Inselruhe Avenue. 

The renderings include a small beach. You can check them out below.

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