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Clark Park, West Vernor corridor framework revealed

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Splash pad, mixed-income housing, and more

A zocalo at Clark Park would host events and festivals
City of Detroit

As the city’s planning department works on addressing needs in various Detroit neighborhoods, we’re learning more about what these specific plans entail. The Planning and Development Department just revealed the West Vernor Corridor Framework to the Southwest Detroit community, with plans for improvements to Clark Park, the West Vernor retail corridor, and Bagley Street.

The framework was just presented at a community meeting and is available on the Planning Department’s site. Built on the 20-minute neighborhood idea, residents should be able to get what they need by foot, bike, or transit. One notable fact from this study: while Detroit’s population has declined, the population of Southwest Detroit has actually increased eight percent between 2010 and 2015.

What can we expect in Southwest Detroit?

  • The plan says there is a need for about 500 new residential units in the neighborhood over the next five years. The focus here should be rehabbing existing multi-family buildings (the study notes there is less interest in detached single-family housing). Housing should also be offered for a range of incomes.
  • In terms of retail, the plan states that focus should be on vacant parcels along West Vernor, Springwells, and Bagley. They note that hurdles to redevelopment include parking, code upgrades, and absentee landlords.
  • Streetscape improvements for better mobility should include bike lanes, lighting, and improved pedestrian crossings.
  • Park improvements include a splash pad at Clark Park, rehabbing of properties close to parks, multi-use paths and sidewalk improvements, and lighting upgrades.

The study identifies many buildings for multi-family rehabilitation, and an area for new construction (Bagley and 16th). The new construction could serve as a bridge between Corktown, the train station, and the study area. An RFP for a mixed-use development and greenway could be issued by the city in the next 6-12 months.

People mingle in the middle of a street with festival lights strung between businesses on either side.
Bagley Street
City of Detroit

Bagley Street could get bump-outs, increased outdoor seating, additional lighting and artwork, and street trees.

Clark Park would get a public gathering space—a Zocalo—with splash pad near West Vernor. This would be open for events and festivals, along with everyday gatherings.

City of Detroit

Some challenges in the area include the fear of rising rents, heavy truck traffic in certain areas, and vacant storefronts. A study on truck traffic through the neighborhood is in the works.

The Strategic Neighborhoods plan started with three neighborhoods—the Villages, Livernois/McNichols, and Southwest. It has recently expanded to ten neighborhoods. The full plan for the West Vernor Corridor Framework can be accessed through the Planning Department.