Scenes from a city, beginning anew
A muddy lot near Detroit’s Eastern Market is set to become the unlikely site of an Olympic-style banked cycling track, or velodrome. The four-acre lot, known to Detroiters of a certain age as the former home of Joe Muer’s seafood restaurant, will also feature a BMX track, with a hilly dirt course, sharp curves and daredevil bicyclists. Those involved in the project tell Bridge that developers have pledged to stage free programs for Detroit youth, including bikes and training, as well as a promise to work with Detroit schools and churches. The name of the developer is not known. An August ground-breaking is planned, and the facility could be in operation by the end of this year.
In recent years, Detroit has become a magnet for cyclists from within and outside the city. It’s safe to say, however, that the Motor City is not exactly famous for cycling tracks. Years ago, there was the Dorais Velodrome, by Derby Hill. But that fell into disrepair though there have been recent efforts at restoration. The new complex, if approved, will be constructed of a fabric roofing structure, supported by air, almost a football field in size and four stories tall. In addition to the cycling facilities, the velodrome will include a walking track for senior citizens, a café, bike shop, a strength and conditioning coach and a spectator area for 500 people, according to people knowledgeable about the project.
– Bill McGraw