DETROIT — The city of Detroit is proposing a greenway to honor Joe Louis, the late iconic boxer who brought the country together during World War II in a fight against a German boxer that transcended sports.

Mayor Mike Duggan has proposed the Joe Louis Greenway to the Detroit City Council, the Detroit Free Press reported . Duggan said the 26-mile (42-kilometer) loop of bike and pedestrian paths will bring people together by connecting neighborhoods throughout the city to the Detroit RiverWalk.

If approved, the greenway will also provide carless safe passage to Detroit from neighboring Hamtramck, Highland Park, Ferndale and Dearborn.

Officials said the $235 million project would be paid for with public and private funds, and will make Detroit more economically competitive.

“I am delighted that the (greenway) will be named after my father, Joe Louis,” said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., son of the famous boxer. “It is a fitting tribute to a person had a positive impact on so many people.”

The proposal comes after Detroit closed the Joe Louis Arena in July. The arena was built two years before he died of cardiac arrest in 1981. The city and its hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings, used the space for nearly four decades to excel in sport and honor Louis.

The arena will be demolished with the site slated for redevelopment.

Louis won the Detroit Golden Gloves light-heavyweight title in 1934, and then won 50 of his 54 matches as an amateur. He also defeated German boxer Max Schmeling in 1938 amid scrutiny from Nazis.


Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

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