Clark Park in the Mexicantown neighborhood of Southwest Detroit will be undergoing a major transformation in the coming years. The City of Detroit presented its plans to residents at a community meeting on Tuesday featuring a splash pad, a central plaza (akin to a Mexican zócalo), and a variety of pedestrian-friendly features along the roads surrounding the area. The plan also prioritizes residential density, small business growth and assistance, and improvements to West Grand Boulevard to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Changes will also reach Bagley Avenue, a main restaurant and small business corridor. The street curbs will be removed on two blocks of Bagley and a continuous pavement will take its place. Called a “shared street”, stormwater drainage will be improved while the traditional curb marking the division between sidewalk and road will be replaced by “a combination of flagpoles, decorative light poles, and trees.” City planners hope overhead lighting, seating, and music will combine to create a vibrant atmosphere that will retain pedestrians.
The city is working to deliver neighborhood improvements that attract new residents without sacrificing the strong community of long-time Southwest residents in an area that has continued to grow even when the city’s overall population declined. Downtown and Midtown have been seeing a lot of the spotlight in the past few years but new, hip spots like tiki-themed Mutiny Bar, future vegan taco restaurant Damelo, and Vietnamese food joint Flowers of Vietnam are drawing large crowds of suburbanites and Detroiters from other areas of the city. Mayor Mike Duggan has targeted this district (known as Vernor/Southwest) in his much-discussed “20-minute neighborhood” plan along with Livernois-McNichols and Islandview/Greater Village.
By Jared Hoffman
Research Associate, JMJ Phillip Group