Broadway Park: Renewing Ann Arbor's Public Riverfront
[] Timeline: Eras of Change1826-18701860-19101900-19401940-today

Welcome to the Website of the
Broadway Park Redesign Project

a partnership between the University of Michigan Arts of Citizenship Program and the Ann Arbor Department of Parks and Recreation

The goal of the Broadway Park Redesign Project and of this website is to encourage public discussion and proposals for improving Broadway Park and the nearby riverfront.  Our larger aim is to make the public riverfront of central Ann Arbor a more beautiful, better-used resource through community- based design.

This website gives information about the unique community history of the Broadway Park riverfront area.  It offers ideas for improving the Park and the riverfront.  Most of all, it asks for your feedback.  Throughout the website, you can click to "join the conversation." Let us know your thoughts about what the park and the public riverfront should look like and how they can best be used.

Where is Broadway Park?

Broadway Park is a three-acre meadow on the south bank of the Huron River (see map).  It is bounded by the river, the Michigan Central railroad, and the Broadway bridges.  Across the Huron lie Riverside Park and the remnant of an old millrun from Ann Arbor's industrial era.  This project seeks to focus attention on renewing public space along both banks of the Huron River.

What makes the Broadway Park area important?

The Broadway Park area offers an important opportunity for three reasons.  First of all, it is Ann Arbor's most accessible riverfront-the only stretch of the Huron River adjacent to downtown, Kerrytown, and center-city neighborhoods.

Second, it is Ann Arbor's most neglected riverfront-the biggest gap in an emerging greenway of parks, nature reserves, and recreational areas.  Broadway Park is the only park in the city's park system without a single amenity.

Finally, the site boasts a unique history: it is the center of Ann Arbor's first settlement, the heart of its 19th-century mill district, the anchor of its African-American and working-class neighborhoods, the city's rail link to the nation.  Every part of our past not included in the "college town" story comes together at Broadway Park.

Why worry about the site now?

For a century, Ann Arbor has tried to "fix" Broadway Park and the Lower Town area.  The legacies of industry and environmental contamination have defeated these efforts.  Currently, three factors offer the best opportunity in a century to renew Ann Arbor's public riverfront.  The City is rebuilding the Broadway bridges; developers are proposing plans to rebuild the Lower Town district; and a new regional Greenway Commission is channeling resources into park improvements along the Huron and other rivers.

The Ann Arbor community has the chance to reverse a century of neglect, to create a public riverfront of recreational and civic amenities in the center of town, and in the process to unearth some of the city's hidden histories.  Let's not miss the opportunity.

How to use this website

Arts of Citizenship - University of Michigan
Arts of Citizenship - University of Michigan