Kresge Grant Program To Fund Detroit Neighborhood Projects

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – More than a dozen projects are receiving $2 million from the Troy-based Kresge Foundation to transform and better Detroit neighborhoods.

The grants are part of the $5 million Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit initiative and will help fund 17 efforts that include park revitalizations, an agricultural greenway and converting an abandoned duplex into an art center.

The nonprofit groups will receive $75,000 to $150,000 for projects that are past the planning stages and are ready to start.

Nearly 40 grants totaling $3 million were given out over the first two rounds of the initiative which was launched in 2014.

This final round of grants in the Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit pilot initiative brings its grant total to $5 million since being announced three years ago.

The new grants, will fund, for example, the creation of a new community hub on Grand River in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood and conversion of a blighted five-block stretch of the Morningside neighborhood into an agricultural greenway.

The grants support renovation of an abandoned duplex into an art center in central Detroit and a Southwest Detroit program to promote the conversion of vacant second floors of commercial buildings into needed residential spaces.

The 17 grantees announced Monday land in all seven Detroit City Council districts:

• 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. Goals of “The Aadzookaan Headquarters” include engagement of youth and elderly residents while building skills in entrepreneurship, media technology, music education and cultural preservation. (Council District 6)

• Auntie Na’s House, Petoskey-Otsego: Rehabilitate a house to create a free medical clinic, a community food hub and a small residential space. Community members will be employed in the rehabilitation of “Auntie Na’s House.” The free clinic will be staffed by the Wayne State University School of Medicine. (Council District 7)

• The Brightmoor Alliance and Sidewalk Detroit, Brightmoor: 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. This grant will support transformation of portions of the park’s largely untouched 200 acres with functional installation art. (Council District 1)

• Central Detroit Christian Development Corp., Piety Hill: Rehabilitate a duplex as a commercial space and arts studio. Near Woodward, the project aims to creatively adapt an unused building and lot into a community asset to anchor neighborhood retail development and cultural activities. (Council District 5)

• Corktown Economic Development Corp., Corktown: Install planters along the protected bike lanes on Michigan Avenue to promote safer biking and walkability. Residents will collaborate with neighborhood artists in design of the planters to reflect the area’s diversity. (Council District 6)

• Eastside Community Network, Chandler Park neighborhood: Install a rain garden learning lab on vacant land across from Hamilton Academy, the neighborhood’s only public school. The lab will include rain gardens, other green infrastructure and an outdoor classroom for school-age children and for adults seeking master rain garden certification. (Council District 4)

• EcoWorks, Cody Rouge: Creation of “Hope Park,” designed using environmental principles as a community space on a vacant lot across from Cody High School. This effort is led by led by students at Detroit Institute of Technology College Prep High School, one of three high schools sharing space at Cody High School. Hope Park is to serve as an outdoor classroom for the high school and nearby middle schools. (Council District 7)

• Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp., Grandmont Rosedale: Create a new community hub along the neighborhood commercial strip on Grand River Avenue. “The Annex” will join a block of recently opened, locally owned, independent retail stores. The flexible space will offer food, art, music and retail on a rotating basis to draw residents and tourists, and enliven the street. (District 1)

• Heritage Works, North Corktown: Transform and link green spaces, parks and vacant land throughout North Corktown using Detroit Future City designs for vacant lots. The resident-led process will embrace values of equity and sustainability to create “sense of place” guidelines for the neighborhood. (District 6)

• LifeBUILDERS, Regent Park neighborhood, eastside: Seal abandoned buildings open to trespass, maintain vacant properties and beautify empty lots. This community stabilization, preservation and maintenance effort is intended to preserve dozens of properties as part of a neighborhood rehabilitation plan. (District 3)

• 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. The effort also includes green infrastructure elements to increase the park’s sustainability. (Council District 5)

• Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, Osborn: Begin a tree and shrub nursey on eight adjacent vacant parcels and create a sunflower labyrinth in Calimera Park as an environmental education tool for neighborhood schools. (Council District 3)

• Power House Productions, Banglatown: Enhance Ride It Sculpture Park for greater accessibility and install equipment for multi-seasonal and multi-generational use. One goal is to increase cultural exchanges in this diverse neighborhood on the Detroit-Hamtramck north border. (Council District 3)

• Southwest Detroit Business Association, Southwest Detroit: Renovate the second floors of four commercial buildings on West Vernor Avenue to create 10 housing units. More than 80 commercial building in the area have vacant second floors; this pilot project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of such conversions for a safer, more active business corridor that will keep more young adults in the neighborhood. (Council District 6).

• U SNAP BAC, Morningside: Begin transformation of a largely vacant, half-mile stretch of Barham Street into an innovative public greenway and “farmway.” The blighted area that includes 68 publicly owned vacant parcels currently attracts dumping; U SNAP BAC envisions closing the area to vehicle traffic and opening it to small-scale agricultural enterprises that provide access to fresh food. (Council District 4)

• University of Detroit Mercy, Fitzgerald: Revitalization of several alleys between University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, an area near McNichols that is often referred to as College Core. Led by the UDM’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center, the project’s goals include ensuring a sense of community ownership and use of the space. (Council District 2)

• Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corp., Woodbridge: 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. The Walk Woodbridge plan includes physical improvements as well as programming, education and advocacy. (Council District 6)
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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