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Update: City Council makes Spirit Plaza permanent in 5-4 vote

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The downtown gathering space has been saved

Several rows of seats, tables, planters, and games are set up along a small patch of road. There’s vibrant orange paint on the concrete. Photo by Michelle Gerard

In a reversal, Detroit City Council voted 5-4 this morning to make Spirit of Detroit Plaza permanent. The same vote failed 4-4 last week, which would have forced the downtown gathering space to close by November had the issue not been taken up by City Council again.

The one absent councilmember, Andre Spivey, voted in favor of keeping Spirit Plaza.

City Council also approved $800,000 in additional funding to build various amenities like a stage, better seating, and enhanced green space. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

Since last week’s vote, many have expressed strong opinions both in favor and against the public placemaking effort. Open since 2017, Spirit Plaza connects the esplanade down the center of Woodward Avenue, but also cuts off traffic on the corridor between Larned Street and East Jefferson Avenue. It’s used as a place for people to eat, congregate, play games, and as a gathering spot for various events.

Some feel that Spirit Plaza has been an important way to reclaim public space in a city that’s too devoted to the automobile. Others don’t like that it disrupts traffic along Woodward. For what it’s worth, last week The Detroit News spoke with Brad Dick, a city group executive for services and infrastructure with the city, who said that “studies have concluded that the plaza doesn’t have a significant impact on traffic downtown.”

What do you think about Spirit Plaza being made permanent? Are there ways it can be improved? Comment and vote in the poll below.


Are you glad City Council voted to make Spirit Plaza permanent?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    (691 votes)
  • 14%
    (130 votes)
  • 5%
    (49 votes)
870 votes total Vote Now