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Banglatown to Vacant Houses: Ride it or Squash it

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In Detroit neighborhood buzz, Corktown has been the reigning king of cool for a while but it had better watch its back. Banglatown (The area of Detroit just north of Hamtramck) has two proposed projects that will considerably raise the cool factor. And they are sporty! (BTW, if you are confused as to where this neighborhood is, you might also know it as No Ham (North Hamtramck). However local artist Gina Reichert is calling it Banglatown for now. We're not sure this one is settled yet but we're going with it). Gina's local non-profit (Power House Productions) which she runs with Mitch Cope has cooked up plans for two vacant houses: a squash court and a skate park. And no, these two Kresge Grant winners are not kidding! As Gina explains, "Yes, sports and recreation are a logical reuse for vacant houses, even if these particular interventions are illogical. Our neighborhood is full of kids looking for something to do. We want that something to be creative and inspirational as well as healthy and fun."

This proposal is going indoor/outdoor by taking up four vacant commercial lots and an adjacent vacant house. The house will serve as a mini indoor park with both skateable and livable parts. Baller! They're calling it the Ride-it Sculpture Park, and are promising it will be fun to skate and bike for professionals and novices.

So what's the plan here? Graem Whyte had the idea for the Squash House which will convert a house on Klinger St. into a venue for a variety of squash/racquetball/handball. "The court will integrate the inherent architecture of the space with sculptural modifications to provide a unique, artistically competitive experience for members of the neighborhood." Click over to the site below for video evidence that squash totally works in this hood. And consider kicking in some funds while you are there.

· Squash House Phase 1 [Crowdrise]
· Ride It Sculpture Park Phase 1 [Crowdrise]