Walking through downtown Redford Township is about to become easier, useful and downright more enjoyable. Township officials are launching an ambitious revitalization project this year that will add a farmer's market, ampitheater, park and streetscape improvements in the area of Beech Daly and 5 Mile roads.
"It will bring people to downtown and improve the retail and business climate," says Michael Dennis, community development director for Redford Township.
The project, called the Redford Marquee, will turn the old township library into a market and ampitheater, an old city lot into a park and an old business corridor into a streetscape that welcomes non-motorized traffic.
The biggest change will come to the old Redford Township Library. The 1962 building has been vacant since 2004 when the library moved to a new home. The Redford Marquee plans call for removing most of the structure's walls to make an open-air yet covered market area. An ampitheater that can hold a few hundred people would be built next to it. Both the market and ampitheater would be available for a variety of community events.
"We're going to reuse the old structure and make it more open," Dennis says.
A pocket park, called a rose garden, with a gazebo and monument rock would also be built in a vacant lot near Midland and Beech Daly. It replaces an old house the township acquired and razed a few years ago. The park will now serve as a gateway into downtown.
The marquee is expected to cost $4.5 million to build while the rose garden's cost is estimated at $80,000. The streetscape improvements along Beech Daly are also expected to cost $3 million. All of the projects are set to begin either this spring or summer and wrap up by the end of year.
The new streetscape will rebuild about four blocks of Beech Daly between Kinloch and Aubrey streets. Among the improvements will be new sidewalks, decorative lighting, crosswalks, traffic islands, bike lanes, brick pavers, benches and trash cans.
Redford Township has been working for years to turn its downtown district into an urban, walkable area. It has taken several significant steps toward that in recent years, primarily with the Redford Township Medical Building redevelopment. Township officials hope these efforts will help create a greater sense of community in the area by giving everyone a common place to congregate.
Source: Michael Dennis, community development director for Redford Township
Writer: Jon Zemke