A new public amenity is about to open alongside Detroit’s greatest natural asset.
Atwater Beach, which sits 3.2-acres of the East Riverfront next to Chene Park, should be complete sometime in the next few weeks. A grand opening was scheduled for Saturday, August 24, but had to be postponed.
While not technically a beach since the berm doesn’t touch the water, Atwater Beach will have a large, sandy area, as well as a playscape featuring “lifeguard” stations for kids to play. A shed and floating bar will offer a mix of programming, food and beverage, and retail.
Construction of the site, which was once used to store buoys, cost between $3 million and $4 million and was largely funded by the William Davidson Foundation. It’s now part of an ever-growing greenway and major overhaul of the RiverWalk undertaken by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy that includes Milliken State Park, Mt. Elliott Park, and the redesign launched in 2017.
Also along the RiverWalk, the Dequindre Cut opened in 2009 and the Joseph Campau Greenway broke ground this year.
Next up is redeveloping the abandoned 40-acre Uniroyal site, which will connect the RiverWalk to the MacArthur Bridge and Belle Isle. And construction on the $50 million, 22-acre Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park on the west riverfront should also begin soon.
It will likely take several years, but once those two projects are complete, Detroit will have a connected riverfront stretching all the way from the Ambassador Bridge to Belle Isle.
In the meantime, especially with the addition of Atwater Beach, there’s plenty to enjoy.