Concert, open houses planned to celebrate debut of Michigan Central renovations

Michigan Central Station generic april 30, 2024
Posted at 10:53 PM, Apr 30, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A concert and open houses are planned to be part of the global celebration that Michigan Central Station is planning for their long-anticipated opening. The former train station in Corktown has been undergoing renovations for six years.

The plans were announced during a Detroit City Council meeting Tuesday, but official details have yet to be announced.

Once ruins of a forgotten past, the grounds of Michigan Central are coming back to life.

“The park looks beautiful. The building looks beautiful," said Adylina Jackson, who grew up nearby. "I'm ready to go inside whenever it opens to see what they've done in there."

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Adylina Jackson, who grew up near Michigan Central Station in Detroit. (April 30, 2024)

“I get on a bike and I take the riverfront this way... once or twice a week” Detroiter Kelly Brown said.

But even two years ago, that wasn’t the case for Brown. Roosevelt Park in front of the former train station was renovated and reopened just last summer. The lifelong Detroiter says he’s seen a major change in the whole area.

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Detroiter Kelly Brown near Michigan Central Station on April 30, 2024.

“I remember it was nothing going on in this area, in particular in this area, of course. So to have this, it’s pretty dope,” Brown said of the park and area. "It’s cool. It's night and day to my childhood.”

This summer will welcome another major change. On June 6, Michigan Central itself is opening to the public, planning to host a 15,000-person concert in the park and open the building for 10 days of tours. Those who live in nearby neighborhoods will get priority.

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Michigan Central Station confirms June 6 as official grand reopening

“For a while there, I thought they should've knocked it down, but I'm glad they didn't because it’s going to be beautiful,” Detroiter Anita Vargas said.

Vargas has called Southwest Detroit home for 30 years. Lately she’s welcomed countless new neighbors who are renovating homes, and she goes out for walks often. That was something she says she didn't always feel safe doing, especially at night.

Just like she does her new neighbors, she says she welcomes the changes.

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Anita Vargas of Detroit. (April 30, 2024)

“I'm just so glad. It was due. It was time. Detroit was going downhill but now, people are coming in, fixing it up," Vargas said. "People are coming back in, it's a lot safer... It's more of a friendly neighborhood now.”

Businesses in Corktown like Grandma Bob's have also noticed the revitalization.

“It's been really, really exciting and a really cool thing to be apart of,” said Dan DeWall, chef and partner at Grandma Bob's. “I'm here almost every night of the week and there's always people hanging out (at the park).”

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Dan DeWall, chef and partner at Grandma Bob's in Detroit. (April 30, 2024)

With Michigan Central set to open and welcome in new workers, the pizza restaurant hopes to open during lunch on weekdays. For now, they’re excited for the opening week.

“I think June 6 is going to be a really fun time," DeWall said. "Really crazy, lot of events and we're looking forward to probably our busiest week ever.”

Surrounding this once forgotten landmark, residents say they began to feel forgotten too. However, this major development is one of many that’s bringing new life to the place they proudly call home.

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Father-daughter ironworkers among those who rehabbed Michigan Central Station

“Knowing that people care. It got to that point where people were not caring about the neighborhood," Vargas said. "Now people are caring, so they’re taking care of each other. That makes it really important for us.”

Full details of the events haven’t been announced yet. Advanced registration for the concert will be required. Michigan Central hopes to announce their final plans next week.