Downriver works to reinvent itself through new businesses, downtowns, waterfronts

We want to hear about your favorite Downriver hidden gems

Wayne County's Downriver is getting a makeover.

On a cold afternoon in December, Local 4 photog (and fellow coffee drinker) Norm Fairhurst and I were driving through downtown Wyandotte. It was all part of our research for a story on Downriver development, recreation and new regional business.

Suddenly, I saw the word “patisserie” on a storefront. And anytime I see pastry, that’s a full stop and cause for further taste testing/investigation. ALWAYS.

We walked inside and met Chafic Chemeissani, the owner of La Crème Patisserie, along with his case full of delicious treats.

Chafic only opened his shop 6 months ago, and he is in love with Wyandotte. He’s just part of a changing Downriver community that’s looking to entice more visitors to Southern Wayne County. (and believe me, the eclairs are worth it!!)

But it goes beyond new small businesses - there’s a marketing campaign for the entire region – all 18 communities – called Destination Downriver. It sells the idea of recreation, the amazing water resources, bustling downtowns and more.

But it’s not only branding. A new economic development group is putting a plan together to redevelop old industrial spots (steel & coal) along the waterfront. The state has chipped in a $1.6 million dollar grant.

Check out my story on Local 4 News at 5:45 p.m. today. It really starts a larger conversation of what does an entire region do to reinvent itself?

We want to hear from you

I want to hear from you – what are the hidden gems and your favorite spots downriver? Could be an excellent business, secret kayak spot, delicious diner.. send them my way! I’ll share them on a special streaming Local 4+ Destination Downriver Wednesday at 12:30p

About the Author:

Christy McDonald is an Emmy-Award winning TV anchor and journalist who has covered news in Detroit and Michigan for 25 years before joining WDIV in 2022.