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A cut too deep

I take exception to the positive tone of the copy on page 54 of the May 13, Metro Times, issue referring to the Grand Opening of the Dequindre Cut "Greenway."

I've lived in Elmwood Park for 10 years. The Dequindre Cut is the spine between Lafayette Park to the west and Elmwood Park to the east in the area bounded by East Jefferson to the south, Gratiot to the north, Orleans to the west and St. Aubin to the east. (The cut is to be developed from Woodbridge Street to Mack Avenue.)

I first heard of the Dequindre Cut Greenway Project at the June 2005 meeting of REAL (Riverfront East Alliance), and have been objecting to it ever since as the most destructive environmental and neighborhood project in memory. Because the board of REAL did not object, I stopped paying my annual dues. When the train stopped running in the cut some 60 years ago, the cut filled with trees and wildlife, which obscured the ugly graffiti that has been allowed to remain because the Brooklyn Museum thinks graffiti is "art" so we're all supposed to agree — but I don't.

The wildlife in the tree-filled ravine included foxes, opossums, ducks, Canada geese, pheasants, bees, butterflies and birds. What Lafayette Park and Elmwood Park were (past tense) constituted a greenway. A true Dequindre Cut Greenway Project would have been to annually cut down dead trees and remove trash in contrast to the expensive, false Dequindre Cut Greenway Project, which entailed chopping down most of the trees, leaving some dead trees and trees with tall, sawed-off trunks, paving half of it so it looks like a half-finished expressway because the real goal is to put "light rail" in the bottom of the ravine, which is 25 feet below ground level.

What I totally object to is the loss of all the beautiful trees and the environmental and aesthetic benefit to the twin parks of Lafayette and Elmwood and the city of Detroit. One would think that to obtain funding for a greenway, one would have to plant trees, not as with the Dequindre Cut Greenway, chop down almost all the trees that had been growing there for 60-some years. Since the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and people of that mind-set are obsessed with "greenways" and "light rail" and know where the government and foundation money is available, my neighborhood lost all the benefits of all the trees and wildlife in the ravine. (Yes, the street people are camping elsewhere, but if the City Council had passed an anti-camping ordinance, they would have had to leave the ravine.)

I've noticed that the signs do not refer to a greenway, but only to the "Dequindre Cut." The "Greenway" is a "Rail-Trail" project and part of a scheme, which I totally object to, to construct so-called greenways everywhere, so people can hike, bike, roller-blade and ride trains from one city, town, village and community to another and we can get rid of cars, cabs and buses and live in a totally regressive way! —Barbara Sherwood, Detroit

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598; e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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