DETROIT — The Detroit Riverwalk is the best riverwalk in America, according to the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. This is the third year in a row the city’s riverwalk has earned the title, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy said.
Detroit beat out other nominees including Tampa, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati; San Antonio; Boston; and Indianapolis, which were selected by USA TODAY 10Best editors and a panel of urban planning experts. Voting was done by the general public.
“We are thrilled to be named America’s Best Riverwalk once again,” said Matt Cullen, chairman of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, in a news release Friday. “The transformation of our riverfront over these past two decades has been tremendous. To go from a blighted and underused riverfront to one that is recognized as the best in the country three years in a row is a testament to how much people love the riverfront and to what our community can achieve when we all work together.”
The Detroit Riverwalk features more than 3.5 miles of parks and greenways. It has been growing in popularity, with 3.5 million visitors annually, and the goal is to eventually create a 5.5-mile path from the Ambassador Bridge to Gabriel Richard Park, connecting eight parks, the conservancy said in the release.
Marc Pasco, the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy spokesperson, said the organization is humbled, honored and grateful for those who voted for Detroit’s attraction.
“It’s essentially a People’s Choice Award. … It’s the people who voted that put us in the winners seat, so it’s all those people who love Detroit Riverwalk and are fans of Detroit Riverwalk who want to support the Detroit Riverwalk and let everyone know how much they love Detroit Riverwalk, they are the ones who voted,” Pasco said.
The Riverfront Conservancy has been connecting and transforming the pieces of the riverwalk since 2003. The conservancy has planned free celebrations and events throughout the year to celebrate its 20th anniversary including boat cruises on the Detroit River and grand openings for the Southwest Greenway and the Uniroyal Promenade section of the riverwalk, which will complete the east riverfront section.
“It seems like every year more people are discovering the Detroit Riverfront. I think that this win and the attention that comes along with it, not only is it a great source of pride for all of us within the city and Metro Detroit, but I also think it gets people throughout the region and throughout the country thinking ‘I might have to check out this Detroit Riverfront,” Pasco said.
Work on new projects, like the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park, which is expected to open in 2024, is already underway along the west riverfront.