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Detroit breaks ground on Joe Louis greenway

City of Detroit

Detroit broke ground on a greenway named for one of its most legendary citizens on Monday.

The 27.5-mile bike and walkway is named for the late boxing legend Joe Louis. The loop will connect the Detroit Riverfront to a number of neighborhoods, and run through parts of Dearborn, Hamtramck, and Highland Park.

Several of Joe Louis’s children attended the groundbreaking. They recalled their father as a unifying figure who broke racial barriers and had a strong commitment to equality.

Son John Louis Barrow says the greenway will honor his father’s legacy in the same way the now-demolished Joe Louis Arena did.

“Our prayer for the Joe Louis Greenway is it would do the same thing,” Barrow said. “It would bring this community together.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the project will bring green space and recreational opportunities to some long-neglected neighborhoods. “We are taking 27 and a half miles of the most blighted and neglected land in the city of Detroit, and we are turning it into 27 and a half miles of beauty,” he said.

The greenway involves multiple partners, and will require additional federal, state and private funding, as well as future land acquisitions.

The full project could take up to ten years, though some officials said they’re hopeful it can be finished sooner.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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