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17 neighborhood revitalization projects receive Kresge support

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Greenways, building rehabs, art, and more

The Eastside Community Network has plans to turn the vacant lot across from this school into a rain garden with help from the students and members of the community.
Photo by Lon Horwedel

The Kresge Foundation announced grants totaling $2 million to 17 non-profits for projects to revitalize neighborhoods across Detroit. The Kresge Innovative Projects represent all corners of the city and a variety of improvement projects, including rehabbing buildings, creating safer biking and walking on major streets, and developing greenways on vacant land.

Grant-funded projects include the creation of a new community hub on Grand River in Grandmont Rosedale and conversion of a blighted five-block stretch of Morningside into a greenway. The grants also support renovation of an abandoned duplex into an art center and a Southwest Detroit program to promote the conversion of vacant second floors of commercial buildings into residential spaces. We’ll also see planters along Michigan Avenue in Corktown to help bikers and pedestrians, and improving biking and walking in Woodbridge.

Auntie Na's treasurer Aaron Appel, left, and Auntie Na herself, pose with some of the children that converge on Auntie Na's house on a daily basis on Yellowstone Street. The kids go to Na's house after school to eat, play, create art, take care of her chickens, plant gardens, and just about everything else. The group received a grant to convert a nearby house into a free medical clinic, a community food hub, and a small residential space.
Photo by Lon Horwedel
Jamii Tata, President/CEO of Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition, poses with some of his friends and community members holding up a banner of an artist's rendition of the proposed Moore Community Park on Philadelphia Street.
Photo by Lon Horwedel

The shovel-ready projects include:

  • Allied Media Projects and The Aadzookaan, Southwest Detroit: Rehabilitate a vacant building in Southwest Detroit into a space for community-based artists rooted in indigenous practices.
  • Auntie Na’s House, Petoskey-Otsego: Rehabilitate a house to create a free medical clinic (staffed by the Wayne State University School of Medicine), a community food hub, and a small residential space.
  • The Brightmoor Alliance and Sidewalk Detroit: Pair artists with community members and organizations at Eliza Howell Park for 6-12 week residencies to design and implement participatory performances, workshops, classes and park improvements.
  • Central Detroit Christian Development Corp., Piety Hill: Rehabilitate a duplex as a commercial space and arts studio.
  • Corktown Economic Development Corp.: Install planters along the protected bike lanes on Michigan Avenue to promote safer biking and walkability.
  • Eastside Community Network, Chandler Park: Install a rain garden learning lab on vacant land across from Hamilton Academy, the neighborhood’s only public school.
  • EcoWorks, Cody Rouge: Creation of “Hope Park,” designed using environmental principles as a community space on a vacant lot across from Cody High School.
  • Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp.: Create a new community hub along the neighborhood commercial strip on Grand River Avenue.
  • Heritage Works, North Corktown: Transform and link green spaces, parks and vacant land throughout North Corktown using Detroit Future City designs for vacant lots.
  • LifeBUILDERS, Regent Park: Seal abandoned buildings open to trespass, maintain vacant properties and beautify empty lots.
  • Oakland Avenue Artist Coalition, North End: Create a multipurpose art and performance pavilion and make other enhancements to MOORE Community Park to celebrate the North End’s cultural history and resident artists.
  • Osborn Neighborhood Alliance: Begin a tree and shrub nursery on eight adjacent vacant parcels and create a sunflower labyrinth in Calimera Park as an environmental education tool for neighborhood schools.
  • Power House Productions, Banglatown: Enhance Ride It Sculpture Park for greater accessibility and install equipment for multi-seasonal and multi-generational use.
  • Southwest Detroit Business Association: Renovate the second floors of four commercial buildings on West Vernor Avenue to create 10 housing units.
  • U SNAP BAC, Morningside: Begin transformation of a largely vacant, half-mile stretch of Barham Street into an innovative public greenway and “farmway.”
  • University of Detroit Mercy, Fitzgerald: Revitalization of several alleys between University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College.
  • Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corp.: Enact a plan to calm traffic and improve walking and biking connections within Woodbridge and to the broader Midtown community, including the Woodward Corridor and the QLine.

“Our grantees are utilizing what’s been abandoned and left vacant; they are reclaiming city blocks that otherwise would fall prey to dumpers and scrappers; they are creating green infrastructure and new community spaces; and they are developing human capital and community, particularly among young people,” says Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of The Kresge Foundation Detroit Program.