The Fitzgerald community just got some terrific news. Reimaging the Civic Commons has awarded the City of Detroit a $4-5 million grant to help with the redevelopment of that northwest Detroit neighborhood.
The grant will be used to boost neighborhood revitalization connecting Marygrove College and University of Detroit Mercy campuses.
And, there’s more good news. The city has raised $4-5 million in local matching funds for a total of at least $8 million to invest in the area.
The grant funding and local match will play a key role in moving Mayor Mike Duggan’s recently announced 20-Minute Neighborhood initiative forward.
The mayor wants to invest in targeted communities to better link residents to key assets, such as housing, retail, recreation, transit lines and educational centers, so they are all accessible within a 20-minute walk or bike ride. The Livernois-McNichols area, particularly the Fitzgerald neighborhood, is the first neighborhood the city is focusing on.
The project will reimagine more than 25 acres of vacant parcels in the Fitzgerald neighborhood and transform them into civic commons that includes a passive recreational greenway and a linear connection between Marygrove College, the University of Detroit Mercy and the community. The project team is partnered with workforce development programs that train residents in green-collar construction and maintenance so they can be part of the revitalization of their communities, the website says.
One of those groups is the Detroit Conservation Corps, which is training unemployed people in Detroit in green technology. A crew has been working in the area cleaning and prepping nearly 300 vacant lots in that neighborhood. That program is a partnership between The Greening of Detroit, Focus: HOPE, Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO), and the McGregor Fund.
“Through the Civic Commons initiative, we hope to rekindle the sense of pride current residents should have living in a neighborhood adjacent to such wonderful institutions of higher learning, says Maurice D. Cox, director of planning and development for the City of Detroit.
“Vacant lots turned into a park and greenway connecting Marygrove College and U of D Mercy complement our effort to rehab and reoccupy 100 vacant homes in the neighborhood, and help strengthen the entire fabric of the community.”
The million grant will contribute to the creation of a $30 million “Strategic Neighborhood Fund” city is raising with Invest Detroit to cover revitalization work in three neighborhoods – Livernois/McNichols, the West Village and Southwest Detroit.
Other cities to be selected for this funding include Chicago, Akron and Memphis.
Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national initiative that seeks to counter the trends of economic and social fragmentation in cities and disinvestment in the public realm. by revitalizing and connecting public spaces. , the initiative intends to be the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can yield increased and more equitably shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.
It is a partnership among four national foundations – The Kresge Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and The JPB Foundation, as well as Cox and other top city planning and economic development officials. Find out more about each city’s plan online at: www.civiccommons.us.