Note: This is Part 2 of exploring Detroit. Part 1 was run the Week of March 23.
Detroit has had a rough few DECADES. Population loss, changes in the auto industry, problem leaders, and racism have made the ‘Paris of the Midwest’ look more like Beirut (which, coincidently, was known as the ‘Paris of the East’). Just taking a Google Maps tour will drive home how many challenges this once great city faces. This does not mean that all news was bad-casinos, stadiums, and some other small wins helped keep some hope alive. It seemed that something was missing…
Well, that missing piece, people, is slowly changing. Recent major investments by two major organizations have purchased and renovated a number of empty office buildings into new loft space or apartments. Move-in ready apartments are difficult to find as people rediscover downtown and the Midtown areas. While retail is still tiny, bars, restaurants, and other leading indicators are popping up and creating a livelier street scene. Belle Isle, one of the largest urban island parks in the US, has received a major makeover since it was leased to the Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources. The M-1 Light Rail Line will connect downtown with the northern section of Midtown, making travel considerably easier. Finally, a 45-block project including a new Red Wings stadium will turn a sad section of downtown and Midtown into a pedestrian-friendly community.
Note: While many exciting things are happening in Detroit, there is still much to do. Many neighborhoods have serious issues and crime. Also, public transport is very basic. If you are planning to travel to Detroit I would recommend making extra effort to plan transportation to/from activities.
Go if you like:
-Auto industry history
-Chicago: 283 miles/4h 15m
-Indianapolis: 287/4h 23m
-Columbus: 190 miles/3h 23m
-Cleveland: 169 miles/2h 36m
Also serviced by:
Air (Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport)
Amtrak (For Dearborn: John D. Dingell Transit Center. For Detroit: Detroit Station. Both are on the Wolverine Line)
Great Lakes Casual Traveler sites:
Great Lakes Casual Traveler Facebook group:
Great Lakes Casual Traveler Facebook page:
Great Lakes Casual Traveler Blogger blog site:
Great Lakes Casual Traveler Panoramio photo site:
Great Lakes Casual Traveler Picasa Web photo site: