In the heart of Southwest Detroit lies Riverside Park. The renovated park is near industry, leaving residents grappling with the challenge of enjoying nature amid truck noise and concerns over air quality.

The battleground between residents and businesses, however, becomes a testing ground for civic cooperation, as city officials strive to strike a balance that caters to the diverse needs of the community. The City of Detroit has engaged a local civil engineering group to chart the park’s multi-phase transformation, including expanding boundaries, reclaiming acres for public space, and enhancing riverfrontage. The revitalized park now boasts interactive features such as a spray park, a winter-ready sledding hill, and a ¼-mile walking loop. 

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One Detroit contributor Bryce Huffman sat down with residents and businesses living and operating near Riverside Park, as well as a Detroit city council member, to learn how the city is ensuring residents and businesses can both be heard and have their input incorporated into decisions shaping the park’s future.  

Detroit's Riverside Park

Community members sit and play at Riverside Park in Southwest Detroit. The park was recently renovated to include a spray park, playground and a ¼-mile walking loop, among other amenities. | Photo by One Detroit

Huffman talks with Debra Sumner, a longtime Hubbard Farms neighborhood resident; Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision Executive Director Raquel Garcia; Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit City Council Member for District 6; and Heather Grondin, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Vice President of Corporate Affairs and External Relations.

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