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Northwest Detroit residents, Sinai-Grace develop neighborhood framework

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How can residents and institutions create equitable revitalization?

Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Revitalization Vision and Strategic Framework

Recently, we’ve seen the City of Detroit work with certain neighborhoods to develop frameworks and guidelines for development, health, and safety. Specifically, plans have been released Southwest Detroit and West Village to guide development and revitalization. But in some Detroit neighborhoods, this work is more community-led.

Sinai-Grace Hospital Northwest recently underwent an extensive $77 million expansion and construction project. With that, the hospital looked to see how they could protect and invest in their assets and the surrounding community. They partnered with Enterprise Community Partners to engage the neighborhood and develop the Northwest Neighborhood Revitalization Strategic Framework.

Sinai-Grace has started working with neighborhoods just north of Grandmont-Rosedale, specifically Crary St. Marys, College Park, Winship, Hubbell-Puritan, Belmont, Bethune, and Shulze. The group effort, along with businesses and institutions in the neighborhood, is under the Sinai Grace Guild Community Development Corporation (SGGCDC).

The group started holding community meetings last fall to develop the framework. Instead of telling the neighborhood what they wanted to do, the framework was developed based on what the neighborhood said they needed.

Melinda Clemons of Enterprise Community Partners talked to Curbed about the community engagement process. They started with the strong assets in the neighborhood: large anchor institutions like the Northwest Activities Center, Mumford High School, and Marygrove College, combined with the stable population across the neighborhoods. Clemons said they wanted to develop ways to create economic mobility for its residents.

The framework centers around seven main areas for equitable community revitalization: commercial and economic development, economic security and wealth-building, residential stabilization and growth, open space and parks, mobility and sustainability, community-building and enhanced quality of life, and leadership and neighborhood capacity development.

The first project in the group is to weatherize 30 homes for senior residents in the neighborhood, to cut down costs on heating and cooling and to make homes more efficient. At the same time, the group will connect residents with resources they might find helpful as they age in the neighborhood.

The group sees a strong link between where residents live and their health outcomes. They’ll work with residents to address housing safety issues, like lead paint, safety, and warmth. “If you don’t have housing security,” Clemons says, “Education could suffer.”

Some of the near future priorities of the group include workforce development, beautifying parks, and strengthening the corridor along 6 Mile.

The framework can serve as a guide for neighborhood revitalization. Enterprise has more information on the partnership with the full framework available here.