Mayor Duggan, family of Joe Louis and members of Congress celebrate completion of first stretch of transformational Joe Louis Greenway


Mayor Duggan, family of Joe Louis and members of Congress celebrate completion of first stretch of transformational Joe Louis Greenway

  • Ribbon cutting for the first completed stretch of 27.5-mile Joe Louis Greenway
  • Greenway plans made in partnership with surrounding neighborhoods
  • Community-led framework plan receives national award from American Planning Association

DETROIT - Today, Mayor Mike Duggan and members of the community helped to christen the completion of the first one-mile segment of the Joe Louis Greenway from Joy Rd. to Warren Ave. Joining the Mayor was Council President Mary Sheffield, Councilmember Fred Durhal III, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and County Commissioner Alisha Bell along with Joyce Barrow Henderson, daughter of Joe Louis. The event was also a community celebration with hundreds of residents in attendance. Funding for this section of the greenway and the Warren Gateway came from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation in the amount of $3M. MDNR Trust Fund Grant and Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) were also used to purchase the eight-mile rail corridor from Conrail.

“Today we celebrate the completion of the first leg of the Joe Louis Greenway, as we continue our mission to turn blight to beauty here in the City of Detroit,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation and our partners at the state and federal levels, we are seeing this vision become reality. Today marks the first of many celebrations to come as we continue this transformational work in our neighborhoods.”


Mayor Mike Duggan said this is a neighbor-driven development that fits into a neighborhood.


The Joe Louis Greenway is a 27.5-mile path that will connect Detroiters in 23 neighborhoods to existing trails like the Dequindre Cut, the Detroit Riverfront, four other cities, and each other. The Joe Louis Greenway is a transformational project that intends to unify and provide equitable access to recreational opportunities for residents. Upon completion, more than 40,000 residents will be able to walk to the greenway within 10 minutes. It will also serve as a regional connector to five other cities including Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, and Dearborn.

“The Joe Louis Greenway is coming,” said Brad Dick, group executive, Services & Infrastructure. “We are excited to continue the development of the greenway throughout the rest of the city, we not only want to build the greenway, but rebuild community as we continue on this transformational journey.”

The greenway offers far more than just a path. Urban greenways and parks play a vital role in the social, economic and physical well-being of American cities and their residents. In addition to improving the mental and physical health of adults and children through increased access to recreational opportunities, greenways generate economic value and economic development, new jobs, and a place for community businesses to grow and thrive.

“Today is a pivotal moment in the shaping of Detroit’s future. The completion of the first segment of the Joe Louis Greenway serves as an undimmable ray of light and hope for residents and visitors and will serve as a catalyst for positive change like the man whose name it will bear. This massive undertaking and transformative project is a prime example of what’s possible with public-private partnerships and intergovernmental cooperation, exclaimed Council President Mary Sheffield

In addition, the greenway is playing a huge role in the City’s efforts to turn blight into beauty. Beyond converting an abandoned rail line into a recreational trail, crews building the greenway have already removed hundreds of illegally dumped tires, hundreds of tons of concrete and steel, and more than 500 tandem trucks’ worth of other trash. Blighted buildings that have been eyesores in their communities have been demolished.

“The fortitude of the city of Detroit to continue to cement my father's legacy is beyond words for me," said his daughter, Joyce Barrow Henderson, who also attended Saturday's ribbon-cutting. "To keep his legacy alive means more than it being just for my dad. It's for us as a people, for us as Americans."


Joyce Barrow Henderson, daughter of Joe Louis, noted that her father loved Detroit and said it's abundantly clear we love him right back.


Residents understand what this monumental development means for their community and have continued to wrap their arms around this project. The General Services Department team led 14 community meetings and attended more than 40 other events and meetings to gather feedback from residents to create the plan. This engagement is why The Joe Louis Greenway Framework Plan was awarded the 2022 American Planning Association’s Advancing Diversity and Social Change award.

“The community is so proud to have this project come our way,” said RuShann Long, member, Joe Louis Greenway Advisory Council. “The Joe Louis Greenway represents a new beginning for us and we are all in.”

Joe Louis was a boxing legend and a proud Detroiter. His significance as an American hero and icon cannot be overstated. Although he’s become a prominent cultural symbol in our city, many people are unaware of the important role he played as an advocate for social justice. Joe Louis worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of Black Americans and to promote social justice in the United States. The Joe Louis Greenway is more than a tribute to his legacy. It celebrates Joe Louis as a role model, as someone whose values can guide this project and the people it brings together. For more information, visit

ICYMI: Watch today's news conference here: JLG News Conference 10.29.22

Hundreds of bicyclists were among the first to ride the Joe Louis Greenway this morning.


The Joe Louis Greenway will attract Detroiters (and visitors) of all ages.