DETROIT, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) broke ground today on an $11.25 million state-of-the-art Public Dock and Terminal that will further establish Detroit's Riverfront as a tourist destination. Great Lakes cruise ships, dinner cruisers, tour boats, tall ships and other vessels will be able to dock at the facility, which also includes a new headquarters for the DWCPA. U.S. Senator Carl Levin, who secured $7.5 million in federal funding for the project, was the featured speaker at the event. "The new dock and terminal will have a direct economic and positive impact on the city of Detroit and the entire region," said Senator Levin. "Given the history of commercial and recreational use of our riverfront, the construction of this state-of-the-art, Public Dock and Passenger Terminal will welcome national and international commercial and tourist vessels, once again, to our city. It will mark the rebirth of a world class Port of Detroit." Construction on the Dock of Detroit, located at the foot of Bates Street in downtown Detroit west of the General Motors (GM) Wintergarden, is expected to begin in the fall of this year as the DWCPA has completed all of its environmental requirements for construction. It is scheduled to be complete by July 2005 in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Detroit. "The State is very proud of the federal, state, county and local partnership forged to make this a reality," stated Robert A. Davis, Director, Governor's Office for Southeastern Michigan. "The Public Dock and Terminal is another example of a jewel in Detroit." "We have been working hard to restore Detroit as a destination for the Great Lakes cruising industry," said Arthur B. Blackwell, II, Chairman of the Board of Directors, DWCPA. "In 1998, we brought in hundreds of international passengers on the C. Columbus, the first cruise ship to dock in Detroit in over 30 years. This project is truly a significant opportunity for Detroit." "This is yet another example of our Riverfront's dynamic transformation and the many ways we are partnering to grow Detroit," said Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick. "One of the first visitors to the new Dock of Detroit may be a 100-passenger cruise ship, which could dock in the city during the 2005 All- Star Game," said Curtis Hertel, Executive Director, DWCPA. "We thought it would be the perfect time to introduce visitors from across the country to our spectacular riverfront." Detroit is one of the only cities with a major port to not have a modern public dock and passenger terminal. Without a dock, the Great Lakes cruising industry has been dormant in Detroit since 1967. This industry has reemerged as a growing market and is having a strong economic impact on cities throughout the Great Lakes region, including Chicago, Cleveland, Toledo, and Windsor. The new Public Dock and Terminal will provide residents and visitors direct access to the river. It is part of the overall vision for a transformed Detroit Riverfront, which includes a five-mile RiverWalk from the Belle Isle Bridge to the Ambassador Bridge, the Tri-Centennial State Park & Harbor and the General Motors Plaza and Promenade. "With today's groundbreaking for a new dock and terminal and the recent dedication of the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor, we are seeing the vision for the Detroit Riverfront quickly becoming a reality," said Matthew P. Cullen, Co-Chairman of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy and GM's General Manager of Economic Development and Enterprise Services. "The new Public Dock and Terminal will provide another means for visitors to experience all of the tremendous redevelopment that is occurring along the riverfront. It will tie in nicely with the GM Plaza and Promenade, which will be completed later this year," added Cullen. To fund the new project, the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority received $7.5 million in federal and state grants under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21); $3 million from the state's Clean Michigan Initiative, Waterfront Redevelopment Grant; and $750,000 from the City of Detroit. Plans are being made to incorporate the RiverWalk through the Public Dock and Terminal facility. The RiverWalk and surrounding green spaces are being designed to include outdoor dining, children's playscapes, art fairs and fishing areas. Detroit's history dating back to the early 1700s will be shared in a series of interpretive plazas, focusing on areas of riverfront that were home to the ribbon farms of early settlers. "The Detroit Riverfront will redefine our city and transform the way we live, work and play," said Faye Nelson, President and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. "It will create a vibrant area with residents and visitors rollerblading, fishing, shopping and living-it's very exciting to be a part of it." In 1933, the Detroit Wayne County Port District was established with jurisdiction over the waters and shoreline of Wayne County. As more development began to take place, a stronger need for concentration on port activities arose, resulting in the establishment of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority in 1978. The Port Authority has a five-member Board of Directors with one member appointed by the State of Michigan, two by Wayne County and two by the City of Detroit. Funding for the Port Authority is provided by the State of Michigan, Wayne County and City of Detroit.
SOURCE The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority