“Sometimes you’re lucky to have someone in the community with the passion and drive to do something. For Detroit, that someone is Matt Cullen; we’re lucky to have him.” – Mitch Mondry, M Group Inc.
Matt Cullen, who oversees Rock Ventures, chairs multiple boards, and is CEO of the M1 RAIL joined The Collaborative Group in a conversation about how we can come together to inspire a stronger connection between the city of Detroit and the surrounding region.
The sense of urgency to get things done transcends the seemingly impossible with many major projects underway in an effort to revitalize the city. Matt’s involvement with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and M1 RAIL in particular has played an integral role in this transformation.
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy is widely known as one of the best examples of a public-private partnership. With a mission to bring public access to Detroit’s Riverfront, a beautiful RiverWalk, plazas, pavilions, parks, harbors, and green spaces extend three miles. Future plans include a welcome center, green high school, and an abundance of community amenities such as restaurants, retail, and residential lofts. An extension of the Conservancy, the Dequindre Cut, is a 1.35 mile rails-to-trails urban recreational path linking the Riverfront to Eastern Market.
The M1 RAIL will also link to the Riverfront. With Phase 1 reaching Grand Boulevard and Phase 2 extending to 8 Mile, the future goal is to connect to M-59 in Pontiac, creating a truly regional means of transportation. Recognizing that it’s all about connectivity, the M1 will tie to other transit including the People Mover, Amtrak, and the Smart bus system. With plans to open in 2013, progress is already underway with a design and an environmental impact study. The M1 will shape the future of land use in Southeast Michigan.
A vibrant Detroit is essential for a stronger region. But, Matt expressed that “we need a plan, supportive government, and a budget to sustain the dream.” And, he’s not stopping anytime soon. “We have not hit the tipping point in Detroit yet,” he expressed, noting that this investment in infrastructure will enable future progress.