The sun was bright but still Arbor Day in Detroit was cold, windy and damp. The ground at Maheras Gentry Park was oversaturated, making the planting of 12 trees by DTE Energy volunteers all the more dirty. No matter. They did it willingly in advance of a celebration later that day for the opening of another section of the Conner Creek Greenway.
Led by the Nickyboy Street Band, students from the Detroit Merit Academy participated in a small parade through the park, allowing people to see the newest parts of a greenway that will eventually span the nine miles between the Detroit River and 8 Mile along Conner St.
The celebration was about more than just the latest stretch of greenway to open. It was a way to remember five years ago the first mile of the Conner Creek Greenway was dedicated. It was also a chance to dream a little about a region connected by trails.
“We need to think about how this connects with the rest of the greenways,” remarked Tom Woiwode, director of the GreenWays Initiative for the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “Eventually we will be able to visit all of the community assets throughout the city by bike or walking.”
The greenway is more than a way for people to explore the region by bike or foot. It has become a way for the community to coalesce around a goal and work in partnership to meet that goal. As Daphne Harris, chair of the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative said while she was trying to thank everyone involved, the number of different groups that worked together are proof building this greenway is truly a private public partnership.
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