Detroit, Highland Park, and Wayne County celebrate start of construction on Highland Park segment of the Joe Louis Greenway

  • 27.5-mile recreational loop will link 23 Detroit neighborhoods, as well as Highland Park, Hamtramck & Dearborn to each other and to Detroit riverfront 
  • $20 million Highland Park leg of JLG being paid for with portion of Wayne County's American Rescue Plan Act funds 

DETROIT - Today, Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison joined with Highland Park Mayor Glenda McDonald and Wayne County officials to celebrate the start of construction of the 1.6-mile stretch of the Joe Louis Greenway (JLG) being built in the city of Highland Park. The Joe Louis Greenway is a 27.5-mile recreational loop that will connect 23 Detroit neighborhoods, as well as the cities of Highland Park, Hamtramck and Dearborn to each other and to Detroit’s nationally recognized international waterfront.  

The $20 million Highland Park section of the JLG is being made possible thanks to funding provided by Wayne County. 

“The whole idea behind the Joe Louis Greenway was to bring people together in new ways, and in this case, it also has brought governments together,” said Deputy Mayor Bettison. “What we have is a city of Detroit project passing through the city of Highland Park, thanks to funding from Wayne County. Thanks to this partnership, residents of all these jurisdictions next year will be able to come together to enjoy a beautiful new recreational trail. We are so appreciative of the support Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and the county commission have provided to make it possible.” 

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Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison shares remarks at the Joe Louis Greenway Highland Park construction celebration.


This new section of the Joe Louis Greenway is a regional initiative between Detroit and Highland Park, which will link the cities of Detroit and Highland Park along what has been an abandoned railroad track. Construction of the 1.6-mile leg is being fully paid for by Wayne County through its share of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  

"I am delighted that Wayne County has allocated $20M in ARPA funding to bolster this project, a true embodiment of community and connectivity," said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. "My unwavering commitment remains steadfast in channeling investments into economic development initiatives that revolve around the principles of unity, inclusivity, and sustainability."  

Detroit purchased the former Conrail property on which the path will be built in Highland Park in 2019 with a Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and federal TAP grant funding administered by Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The greenway construction will span from east to west of Highland Park and will connect to Woodward Avenue, a major regional commercial corridor and shopping district, and connect with Highland Park city amenities like Ford Park and the Ernest T. Ford Recreation Center, improving access to green space and providing a new, safe non-motorized pathway across the city. 

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Wayne County Director of Economic Development, Hassan Sheikh shares remarks at the Joe Louis Greenway Highland Park construction celebration.


"Adding another beautiful green space is truly welcomed in the great City of Highland Park," said Mayor McDonald. "The citizens and I are so excited to see this development coming through our wonderful neighborhoods." 

The Joe Louis Greenway is a centerpiece of Mayor Mike Duggan’s “Blight to Beauty” initiative.  Construction on the greenway began in 2021, and so far, more than 26 Olympic-sized swimming pools of debris and 21,000 tires have been removed between Warren and I-96 alone. Crews began working in the city of Highland Park in late August of this year to remove debris from the property in preparation for the construction of the path. 

"The Joe Louis Greenway Partnership is thrilled to be a partner supporting the groundbreaking of the Highland Park section of the Joe Louis Greenway," said Leona Medley, Executive Director of Joe Louis Greenway Partnership. "This momentous occasion marks a significant milestone in our commitment to fostering vibrant and inclusive public spaces here in Highland Park. The residents of Highland Park deserve access to safe and beautiful public spaces. The Partnership is here to foster community engagement, family-friendly programming, education and support local businesses while honoring the legacy of Joe Louis, an icon of strength, perseverance, and unity. We firmly believe that by providing an environment where people can come together, connect, and enjoy various activities, we can cultivate a sense of belonging and unity." 

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Joe Louis Greenway Highland Park construction celebration.


Similar to JLG, is the Atlanta Beltline in Atlanta, Georgia, which generated over $4 billion in economic impact, 15,000 new jobs, and 2,600 new affordable housing units. Similarly, the San Antonio River Walk generated over $3 billion in economic impact, including 21,000 jobs and 2.2 million local visitors annually. The hope is that the Joe Louis Greenway will make a comparable impact and strides throughout Wayne County. 

For more information about the Joe Louis Greenway, CLICK HERE.