City of Windsor Granted Park Licence Over Gateway Park
Mayor Drew Dilkens was joined today by Ward 2 Councillor Fabio Costante and Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin to announce that the City of Windsor has reached a historic agreement with the Detroit River Tunnel Company, a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway, which grants the municipality a 99-year licence to operate and maintain Gateway Park.
The licence agreement took effect November 9, 2021, and authorizes the City to immediately take an active role in managing the naturalized park, which is located above the CP tunnel that runs parallel to Cameron Avenue, bordering the City’s west side. Maintenance work by Parks staff is expected to begin this month to clean up the site and raise the derelict property’s environment to the same high safety, accessibility and aesthetic standards as all public parks in Windsor.
The Detroit River Tunnel Company retains full ownership of the land and will pay the City $300,000 to assist with maintenance costs. This payment includes a one-time transfer of $100,000, followed by an annual disbursement of $20,000 for the next 10 years. The rail company will also pay $40,000 for easement rights to the City’s property located about 40 feet underground. Council has committed $700,000 toward the park's revitalization as part of its $1.6-billion pledge over the next 10 years to fund capital improvements that raise the quality of life for residents.
In addition to site cleanup and landscape restoration, council’s investment will support adding the following new features to provide visitors with a safe, accessible and enjoyable experience:
A fully accessible asphalt multi-use trail and access ramps
Park signage, trailhead signage, wayfinding signage and Global Positioning System (GPS) location signage
Modern park benches, and garbage and recycling containers
As a linear property, Gateway Park begins at Riverside Drive and runs nearly 1 kilometre south to Wyandotte Street. It is between 50 to 70 metres wide and bordered on each side by a thick overgrowth of diverse plants and trees. A row of Japanese cherry blossoms, donated in 2002 by the Consulate-General of Japan’s Sakura Project as a symbol of international friendship, lines a narrow foot trail in the centre of the park.
The park’s full revitalization is expected to be completed by fall of 2022, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sakura Project.
“On behalf of residents, I would like to thank the Detroit River Tunnel Company for signing this historic park licence agreement granting the City of Windsor rights to manage and maintain the Gateway Park property for the next 99 years. We are proud stewards of our city’s naturalized areas and intend to raise Gateway Park to the same high standards as all of our public parks. The revitalization of Gateway Park starts this month to make it an inviting, safe and accessible passive park for all to enjoy.”
– Mayor Drew Dilkens
“For decades, many residents have volunteered and worked to see Gateway Park meet its potential. With this significant investment to clean up and beautify the park, we are ensuring that the park not only meets its potential but is a safe and accessible space for residents nearby and afar. I am excited about adding a kilometre of parkland to our urban core for residents to enjoy for generations to come.”
– Ward 2 Councillor Fabio Costante
“Gateway Park has long been sought after as a connecting point for residents in the area to the riverfront from as far south as Wyandotte Street. Adding this link of parkland to our system will be key in all the redevelopment happening along the University Avenue corridor, as well as rejuvenating the neighbourhoods in the area. I am excited to have council support this investment after years of efforts by so many residents finally bringing this project to reality.”
– Ward 3 Councillor Rino Bortolin