From Delaware to Detroit: A story of moving to The Villages

When Jeremy Henner and his wife Cheryl decided they needed to move away from Delaware, they made an exhaustive search of the country.  Jeremy was working on his law degree, so he wanted a community where he could immediately put his degree to work.  Cheryl, currently deployed in Afghanistan as an engineer, has a background in urban land development, so she wanted to be in a city where she could put that background to use as well. 

They started touring cities they felt were undergoing a revival of some type. That search took them to Pittsburg, Chicago, San Francisco, even Anchorage.  After reading up on Detroit through the Time Magazine Blog they decided to tour Detroit.

When they toured West Village Labor Day weekend in 2010, they fell in love.  They liked the walkability and the openness of the people who live in The Villages, a collection of neighborhoods on Detroit’s East Side that includes West Village, Indian Village, Islandview Village, East Village, Berry Subdivision and Gold Coast.  This neighborhood is close to the Detroit River and the walkable access to Belle Isle Park and Detroit’s RiverWalk.

“When you look around Detroit, it’s obvious that one million people left town.  But we’ve found there is a certain grittiness in the people that made the choice to say behind,” Jeremy said.“These people believe in Detroit.  It’s not that there isn’t room for improvement. There is room, but where some people see blight, these people see opportunity.”

That’s the type of community spirit that drives organizers to hold the The Villages Fifth Annual “Living in the V” Real Estate Open House and Community Festival.  From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 25 several events will be held to introduce potential new residents to the area.

You can also hop on a bus for a free guided bus tour of the six Villages communities that are loaded with history and charm, parks, historic homes and churches, local businesses and lovely riverfront features. You’ll end the trip with a tour of the Henry Ford Medical Center at Harbortown.

A community festival will be held on Agnes between Parker and Van Dyke and will include arts, crafts, children’s activities and music. This year the music scene features Murrow’s Boys, Billy Davis, and special guest jazz song-stylist Shahida Nurullah.

There’ll also be a Poochapalooza dog march put together by Canine to Five.

Looking for a place in Detroit? Check it out. There are plenty of perks besides location and beautiful homes. The Villages Communities, including the Church of Messiah Housing Corporation and Genesis HOPE, have been awarded a Better Buildings for Michigan program grant. This program offers homeowners incentives and services to help them make energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

Community Legal Resources (CLR) has approved the Villages Community Development Corporation for two Security Alternative Funding and Empowerment (SAFE) grants. These grants provide direct financial assistance to groups carrying out vacant property maintenance and neighborhood security initiatives in Detroit.

If you’d like to learn more about the Villages check out their newsletter or website.

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