by Alex Alusheff
Monroe will receive a $5 million grant from the state to acquire and redevelop property for the River Raisin National Battlefield Park.
The city is looking at buying privately owned property along E. Elm Ave., Winchester St. and Hellenberg Field off E. Front St. as part of the River Raisin Heritage Corridor East master plan, to expand the battlefield’s offerings, said Dan Swallow, city economic and community development director.
“ We want it to be a greater experience for people to visit the battlefield,” Mr. Swallow said.
Plans include buying the houses along Elm and removing the road east of the train tracks to build a re- creation of the French Town settlement; constructing an amphitheater at Hellenberg Field, and planting two peace gardens, one adjacent to the Monroe Multi-Sports Complex and one near Winchester and E. Front St., he said.
By adding these new entertainment options, Mr. Swallow said the battlefield will become more of an attraction to travelers.
“By offering all these different options, it will make a lot of people want to visit,” he said, noting that as of now only a visitors’ center is offered aside from the events hosted at the battlefield.
The museum and visitors’ center will also be expanded eventually.
When the city receives the money, it will have to work with the private land owners and residents to acquire their property.
The plan also includes developing the commercial property along the marina off Elm near I- 75 but that step will not be implemented, yet, Mr. Swallow said.
The grant is part of $24.7 million the state is giving to roughly 70 municipalities for recreational projects, called the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The project is funded through earnings on the sale and lease of publically owned mineral rights.