The upcoming plans to rework I-375 have drawn criticism from many. A new report addresses the history of the urban freeway, the neighborhoods it destroyed, and ways to build up wealth in the Black community that lost so much from it.

Detroit Future City has released a report, “A Call for Reparative Investment in Black Bottom Paradise Valley,” which advocates for Black Detroiters to be an integral part in the future investment of the area. When 375 and Lafayette Park were built, it destroyed both the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods, which were home to thousands of Black residents and hundreds of Black-owned businesses. 

The reworking of 375 involves removing the one-mile freeway and replacing it with a grade-level boulevard, which will free up areas around the boulevard for future development.

“The report calls for creating an investment environment that will result in reparative outcomes,” said Anika Goss, DFC CEO. “The private investment, venture capital, philanthropic funds and other investments that will leverage Federal resources from I-375 project, and that would restore wealth to this community, should be led by and benefit Black Detroiters. This is an opportunity to create wealth now and for future generations of Black Detroiters in Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, where wealth was intentionally extracted.”

Recommendations from Detroit Future City include:

  1. Prioritize those that were displaced by urban renewal and their descendants,
  2. Capitalize on opportunities to increase homeownership among Black Detroiters living in the neighborhoods,
  3. Leverage programs to strengthen housing stock by supporting home repair for existing residents,
  4. Ensure Black developers have the investment and access to be at the forefront of development opportunities,
  5. Support the development of a business district focused on Black owned enterprises and the cultivation of Black entrepreneurs, and
  6. Implement land use-based climate resilience solutions to build the neighborhood’s resistance to acute shocks caused by climate impact.

The report includes a history of the Paradise Valley and Black Bottom neighborhoods, which encompasses parts of Eastern Market, Brush Park, Lafayette Park, and Midtown. 

Work on 375 is expected to start in 2025.