| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Vimeo RSS Feed

Detroit Development News

2428 Articles | Page: | Show All

Placemaking in the city: Kite festival, innovation center, sustainable living, and public art

A spate of exciting placemaking projects have been announced this month, each seeking to improve city life through placemaking and community-building practices and projects.

Each are the targets of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's placemaking initiative, Public Spaces Community Places. The projects are eligible for matching grants from the MEDC, should they reach their intended crowdfunding goals. The campaigns are being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform.

The inaugural Detroit Kite Festival is planned for Belle Isle on July 16, 2017 and organizers are hoping to raise $7,500 to help fund the event. Festivities include on-site kite-making classes, kite culture educational programming, and performances from professional kite flyers. Free transportation for 150 Detroit children will be provided and, beginning in April, several months of kite workshops and programming are planned throughout city neighborhoods.

The Detroit Kite Festival has until April 9 to reach its goal.

Detroit-based non-profit Life Remodeled is seeking to transform the neighborhood surrounding Central High School through a series of placemaking projects that include blight removal and home repair campaigns. Having signed the lease on the historic Durfee Elementary-Middle School building, Life Remodeled is raising $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to help transform Durfee into the Community Innovation Center. The community center will offer a number of services, including business acceleration workshops, maker spaces, and recreation opportunities. Funds raised through the campaign will help with construction, among other costs.

Life Remodeled has until April 14 to reach its goal.

Over on the city's west side, a group of architecture students from the Netherlands has launched the Motown Movement, an exercise in sustainable and green living. The group is attempting to raise $50,000 to transform 1995 Ford St. into a multi-purpose property, including a community resource center, sustainable living demonstration space and training center, and a second-floor residential unit for a Detroit family that has lost its home to tax foreclosure. A community garden is also planned.

The Motown Movement has until April 18 to reach its goal.

In Grandmont Rosedale, the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation is looking to raise $10,000 to help fund its beautification efforts along Grand River Avenue, the main commercial thoroughfare running through the area. The GRANDcorridor Beautification Project will use the money raised to paint three 3,000 st. ft. murals on the sides of local businesses as well as plant 31 new trees along the east side of the avenue.

The GRANDcorridor Beautification Project has until May 13 to reach its goal.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Small business program encourages entrepreneurs to apply for financial and educational assistance

It's once again that time of year for area entrepreneurs to take a shot at winning a helping hand from a Detroit small business booster program, be it financially or otherwise. The application window for the eighth round of Motor City Match closes April 1, 2017.

The small business program offers entrepreneurs the chance to win cash awards, landlord-tenant matchmaking opportunities, and design, permitting, and business plan assistance. $500,000 is awarded to small businesses every quarter.

"Detroit is experiencing a boom in entrepreneurship, with opportunities for long-time Detroiters as well as people coming from across the country," says Michael S. R. Rafferty, Detroit Economic Growth Corp. VP for Small Business. "We're glad that Detroit has become an attractive place to open up shop, and we're proud to have created a program that gives Detroiters a chance to participate in their city's comeback."

The list of Motor City Match winners is long and varied, including co-working spaces, boutiques, a craft cafe, a wellness center, a media technology school, and many others.

Mikiah Westbrooks owns one of those businesses, the Brix Wine & Charcuterie Boutique. The bistro is expected to open in an old West Village bank building later this spring. Westbrooks won a $32,000 matching grant from a previous round of the contest, among other services.

"The people at Motor City Match make sure you have everything you need to be successful," says Westbrooks. "They helped me finish my business plan, build out the space for my business, and have been an incredibly helpful resource for me as I am going through this process. I would never be as close to opening my boutique as I am without their assistance."

Click here to apply for the eighth round of Motor City Match.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Corktown-based bicycle shop to open second location in West Village

Metropolis Cycles, the Corktown bicycle shop that opened in 2015, is opening a second storefront in the West Village neighborhood. Metropolis Cycles East will offer new and used bikes, locks, tires, and other accessories, and a full service repair facility.

While construction at the shop's permanent home of 8116 Kercheval St. won't be completed until this summer, a pop-up location at 8044 Kercheval St. will serve as the temporary location of Metropolis, a seasonal business that needs to be open in time for the warmth of spring. They'll move into the permanent location later this year.

A kick-off party for Metropolis Cycles East is being held this Friday, March 10, from 7 to 11 p.m. Snacks and refreshments will be provided by the nearby Craft Work restaurant. The shop will assume its regular hours of operation11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Sundaythe following Saturday, March 11.

Later in the year on May 6, Metropolis will throw a two year anniversary party at their original Corktown location, planning a bike race, bike-related tattoos, and music for the celebration.

When co-owners Shayne O'Keefe and Ted Sliwinski first decided to open the original shop, O'Keefe says he recognized a need for more bike shops in Detroit. The second location is the culmination of that idea.

A number of factors went into the new shop's location, says O'Keefe, who lives in the nearby Poletown neighborhood. West Village is located near Belle Isle Park, a major destination for the region's bicyclists. It's also become a popular spot for new businesses and residential developments opening outside of greater downtown.

"We're trying to go where the people are but also far enough away from other bike-related businesses," says O'Keefe. "Between downtown and the Grosse Pointes, there's a seven mile gap between bike shops and there's a lot of people in that gap. We have a lot of respect for others in the bike business and don't want to overlap."

The Metropolis Cycles East pop-up is located at 8044 Kercheval St. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Rock and roll pie shop re-opens in Detroit with own space

Dangerously Delicious Pies is once again serving their sweet and savory pies in the city of Detroit. The rock and roll pie shop had a soft opening in the newly redeveloped Strathmore Apartments building this past Saturday, March 4. It will remain open with regular hours, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

It's been over six months since the pie shop was open in Detroit. They first served their pies out of the now-demolished Comet Bar. Dangerously Delicious Pies then operated out of the kitchen of Third Street Bar for several years before closing up shop there in the summer of 2016.

In the months leading up to the end of that relationship, Midtown Detroit, Inc. reached out to the pie shop and offered to help Dangerously Delicious Pies find a space of their own. The neighborhood group didn't want to see the pie shop leave the area and ended up financing part of the build-out of the new space.

Don Duprie, co-owner of Dangerously Delicious Pies and also a River Rouge fireman and accomplished songwriter and musician, says the company is thankful for the help. The new storefront has an old school vibe that includes subway tiles and a checkerboard floor. He hopes the new pie shop will be a place that's comfortable for everyone.

"I think it's great," says Duprie. "It's between the Magic Stick and the Old Miami. It's near Woodward. There's a lot of history down there."

In addition to pies, Duprie and his team are planning on hosting live music once a week. A small one- or two-person stage has been constructed. A planned grand opening party, perhaps in partnership with new neighbors Pure Detroit, should occur in early April and feature live performances from Duprie and friends.

Last year, Dangerously Delicious Pies opened a bakery in River Rouge and storefront in Wyandotte, which will remain open.

Dangerously Delicious Pies is located at 70 W. Alexandrine St. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative seeks funds to build America's first sustainable "agrihood"

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) is looking to strengthen its mission in Detroit's North End neighborhood with the transformation of an abandoned three-story apartment building into a community center. Should MUFI successfully raise $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will provide a $50,000 matching grant.

MUFI has been steadily working toward its goal of building "America's First Sustainable Urban Agrihood" since purchasing land in the North End in 2011. The planned community center, which would offer gathering space and nutritional and educational programming, would join a two-acre urban farm, 200-tree fruit orchard, children's sensory garden, water harvesting cistern, and more. A healthy food cafe and commercial kitchen is also planned.

A non-profit made up of volunteers, MUFI provides more than 300 varieties of produce to approximately 2,000 households, churches, and food pantries within a two-square mile radius of the farm. The produce is free.

The crowdfunding campaign and matching grant is part of MEDC's Public Spaces, Community Places placemaking initiative. MUFI has until Sunday, April 2 to meet or exceed the goal, which is being hosted on the Michigan-based Patronicity crowdfunding platform.

Auburn Hills-based automotive suppler BorgWarner kicked off the campaign with a $10,000 donation.

"The Public Spaces, Community Places placemaking grant is a creative way for supporters of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative to have a hand in helping build America's first sustainable urban agrihood located in Detroit's lower North End community," Tyson Gersh, president and co-founder of MUFI, says in a statement. "Through the program, we can expand our agricultural campus with donations used to fund the restoration of a long-vacant building into the neighborhood's most sustainable Community Center along with a new healthy food café."

Click here to view the status of the crowdfunding campaign.

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative is located at 7432 Brush St. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Detroit to be celebrated at international design festival in Saint-Étienne, France

Having stolen away for a fifteen minute phone call from Saint-Étienne, France, Anya Sirota says she's glad for a brief respite from the noise that accompanies the preliminary stages of the Saint-Étienne Design Biennale. A lot of work goes into setting up the a month-long international design festival that welcomed more than 250,000 visitors last year.

The City of Detroit has been named Guest of Honor for the festival, which has invited three Detroit-based design groups to showcase their works and their city to international audiences. Detroit design groups Creative Many, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, and Akoaki have each brought their installations, ideas, and people to the festival, which takes place March 9 through April 9.

Detroit was made Guest of Honor as a result of it being named the first and only American UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2015.

"It's a huge honor for us," says Sirota, a principal at the architecture and design firm Akoaki and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. "So much of what we're doing has been off the radar. It's not institutional work, it's in local fields and garages."

The Akoaki team works in the city's North End. And not only are they bringing the installations they've created throughout the neighborhood, they're bringing part of the neighborhood itself. Nearly 30 participants in the installations, from local builders to musicians, are traveling to take part in the festival.

Fundraising efforts as well as help from organizations like the Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation have made it possible for so many to travel to Saint-Étienne. It's been no small feat. For a number of the travelers, the trip marks the first time that they've received passports or set foot on a plane, says Sirota.

"There are lots of times where 'experts' descend into Detroit, but we wanted to turn to the experts in the neighborhoods."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Historic building preservation and restoration open house scheduled at Hug Factory in Eastern Market

"I always saw myself as a steward of these historic buildings. But I've found I'm at my best when helping others be stewards."

That's what Amy Swift told Model D in 2016 upon the opening of the Hug Factory, the headquarters for her Building Hugger renovation firm. The company specializes in historic window restoration and repair.

Swift continues her mission with the announcement of the second annual Building Hugger Community Mingle. She's partnered with three local historic preservation organizations for the event, which will offer guests a chance to learn about both restoration techniques as well as public policy issues affecting preservation today.

Brick + Beam Detroit, Preservation Detroit, and Michigan Historic Preservation Network will provide information on current preservation policy issues, including the state of the threatened federal historic tax credit. The organizations will then lead a postcard-writing session to advocate for the endangered tax credit.

Swift will lead a window restoration demonstration while opening up her shop to the public, allowing guests to visit employee work stations for first-hand interactions. Swift plans to open Hugs Hardware in the building, which will sell hard-to-find restoration supplies.

Michigan Women's Foundation and the Build Institute will also be on hand to provide information on their programming for entrepreneurs.

"Informing our community about the preservation policies and best practices that affect property owners in Detroit every day is core to our mission at Building Hugger," says Swift. "We're excited to be able to bring in our partners for a shared advocacy day while also celebrating our achievements and giving thanks to our supporters for helping us through such a big year. It'll be a fun afternoon."

The Building Hugger Community Mingle is free and open to the public. RSVPs are not required but are encouraged, which can be done here. The event is Saturday, Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Building Hugger is located in Eastern Market at 3036 Chene St.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Free after-school program for Detroit poets to expand and enhance services with sixth site

Detroit's Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, located at the intersection of McDougall and Larned streets on the city's east side, will soon receive a Citywide Poets site. The InsideOut Literary Arts Project's Citywide Poets is a free after-school program for teens.

Citywide Poets uses the written and spoken word to encourage teens to tell their story, examine the challenges they face, and explore solutions, says the organization. The program offers students relationships with artistic mentors and the opportunity for performances and publication.

According to InsideOut Literary Arts Project (iO), over 90 percent of students participating in the program go on to attend post-secondary institutions.

The new Citywide Poets site is the sixth for iO. It was made possible by a recently-announced $150,000 three-year grant from the Dresner Foundation.

Suma Rosen, iO Executive Director, says the organization is thrilled to have the support of the Dresner Foundation.

"Aside from improving literary skills and boosting college readiness, this program gives participants the space to embody their full selves; the power that comes from discovering one's voice through poetry and performance is truly transformational."

In addition to the new Citywide Poets site, the Dresner grant will enable iO to improve and expand other components of its creative arts programming. Among the improvements include the planned bolstering of the Youth Poet Laureate and Ambassadors program, which nurtures both creative and civic engagement. The statewide and Detroit-based youth poetry festival Louder than a Bomb will also be expanded.

Other Citywide Poets locations include the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, Detroit School for the Arts, Communication & Media Arts High School, Detroit Institute of Technology at Cody, and Detroit International Academy for Young Women.

"Citywide Poets fosters artistic excellence for youth, offers pathways for personal and professional development, and utilizes writing and performance as a method for community engagement," says Associate Director Alise Alousi.

Registration for the Citywide Poets program can be completed in person, by mail, and online.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Days before an RFP deadline, Gilbert makes one last play for downtown site of stalled county jail

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures is still attempting to acquire the current Wayne County jail site, this despite County Executive Warren Evans promising to issue an RFP to finish construction of the long-stalled jail this Friday, Feb. 10.

Gilbert and fellow billionaire businessman Tom Gores recently submitted a request for a Major League Soccer franchise in Detroit and want to build the stadium at the current site of construction, which was halted in 2013 due to estimated cost overruns in the tens of millions of dollars. The site is located at the intersection of I-375 and Gratiot Avenue on the eastern edge of downtown.

Announced late Monday, Feb. 6, Rock Ventures has submitted an offer to Wayne County where it will build the county a brand new criminal justice complex at a different location for $300 millionthe current estimated cost of completing the stalled jail site. Rock Ventures would then build a $1 billion mixed-use development on the downtown site, including a soccer stadium and office, commercial, residential, and hotel space.

The criminal justice complex proposed by Rock Ventures would cost an estimated $420 million to complete, though the company would charge the county $300 million for construction. Adult and juvenile detention facilities would be located on the campus, including a new criminal courthouse that would replace the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice downtown.

The Rock Ventures-proposed criminal justice complex would be located one and a half miles north of downtown, at I-75 and E. Forest Avenue.

"We have worked hard to develop and deliver to the County a proposal that, we believe, will be the best long-term outcome for the County and for the future of downtown Detroit," says Matt Cullen, principal of Rock Ventures. "Specifically, we will deliver to the County a modern, consolidated criminal justice center with no risk and at the same dollar amount they estimate it would cost them to complete the project on Gratiot.

"In addition, we are prepared to build a development on the Gratiot Avenue Site, located in the heart of the sports and entertainment district, that will provide significant economic impact and that Detroiters will be proud to have at the 'front door' to the city."

No word yet from Wayne County, as of publication.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

$550M committed to private equity fund for Detroit-based Huron Capital Partners

The Detroit-based Huron Capital Partners has closed its private equity fund $50 million over its target goal and three months after marketing efforts began. New York's Sixpoint Partners, which served as the exclusive global placement agent for The Huron Fund V L.P., closed the fund with $550 million in total limited partner capital commitments.

A combination of endowments, foundations, multi-manager funds, public pensions, corporate pensions, and family offices have committed to The Huron Fund V L.P.

"We deeply value the tremendous confidence and broad support that our new and existing investors have placed with our experienced investment team and remain focused on delivering strong returns to our LP base," says Brian Demkowicz, Managing Partner at Huron. "We look forward to deploying our buy-and-build strategy in partnership with seasoned executives to improve and grow our businesses through strategic initiatives, operational improvements and add-on acquisitions."

Huron acquires middle market companies and increases value through ExecFactor, its proprietary buy-and-build investment model. ExecFactor incorporates equity recapitalizations, market-entry strategies, family succession transactions, and other strategies to run its model.

With its $550 million fund, Huron will focus on companies in the lower middle market, aiming at between $20 million and $70 million per transaction.

Huron prioritizes the business services, consumer products and services, and specialty manufacturing sectors. Its portfolio includes such companies as Drake Automotive Group, XLerate Group, and the Dundee, Mich.-based Spring & Sprout, a dental support organization.

"With over $1 billion of demand for Fund V, we believe Huron's 16-year track record drove robust demand from investors for its disciplined investment process and proven strategy," says Eric Zoller, Partner at SixpointPartners.

Huron Capital Partners is located in the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Two new co-working spaces and business incubators to debut in the city

One of the biggest trends in development lately has been the co-working space. A number of them have opened in the past few years and some, like downtown's Bamboo, have experienced significant upgrades. Here are two more co-working spaces making the news today.

In Midtown, Lawrence Technological University's Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT) recently debuted a co-working space with creative professionals in mind called DCDT Cowork. They'll soon complement DCDT Cowork with an in-house design studio, DCDT fellowship program, and the DCDT Design Accelerator program. As a whole, it's called Design Incubator and launches in February.

DCDT is accepting applications to the Design Accelerator program until Feb. 10. The 10-week course for aspiring entrepreneurs begins Feb. 15 and ends with a Pop-Up Showcase where two winners will be selected for $2,500 seed grants.

"This 10-week program packs it all in, from legal considerations to branding and more," says Karen Evans, director of the DCDT Design Incubator. "The Design Accelerator is completely hands-on, giving you the expertise and space for improving on each component of your business from week to week, with guidance from experienced facilitators."

Lawrence Technological University's Detroit Center for Design + Technology is located at 4219 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.

Opening downtown is SpaceLab Detroit, a new co-working space geared more toward building industry professionals. SpaceLab is scheduled to open on the seventh floor of 607 Shelby St. this March. Renovations are currently underway at the 5,200 sq. ft. space.

With a design library, conference rooms, project display areas, a community kitchen, large-format plotters, and education and networking events, president and managing partner Karen Burton is designing SpaceLab to appeal to a range of building industry professionals, from architects to community development organizations, real estate agents to interior designers.

Burton is a marketing consultant to architects and engineers and has previously served as an architectural designer.

"As an entrepreneur, I know what it's like to work from home without all the amenities of a typical large office, including being able to turn to a co-worker to share an idea," says Burton. "I understand the need for solopreneurs and small businesses to be able to collaborate and share resources."

SpaceLab Detroit is a Round 4 Motor City Match Space Awardee.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Historic apartment buildings receive $24M investment, re-open as affordable housing complex

In November 2013, Detroit Police called the Colony and Fisher Arms Apartments the most problematic addresses in the city. It was then when a combined force of 150 officers from different law enforcement agencies raided the east side apartment complex, arresting 33 people.

Just over three years later and the historic apartment complex is in the news for completely different reasons. On the morning of Jan. 28, 2017, more than one hundred people, including Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig, and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, gathered to celebrate the rehabilitation and re-opening of the 161-unit affordable housing apartment complex.

A combination of financing pieced together by Cinnaire and Chesapeake Community Advisors made the project possible, having secured $24 million dollars in financing. That multi-tiered financing included Federal Historic Tax Credits, Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, an FHA loan, a renewal of Section 8 rental subsidy, and Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis Affordable Housing Program Funds. The city of Detroit contributed vacant city-owned property for secure parking for the residents.

"It is a completely different place," says Mayor Mike Duggan. "This is the quality we're going to continue to build for the people of the City of Detroit."

To reflect the new and improved apartments, the historic Colony and Fisher Arms Apartments have undergone a name change and have since been re-branded as the River Crest Apartments.

Cinnaire, a non-profit community development group, has contributed $500 million in investment in Detroit over the last 23 years. Cinnaire, Chesapeake Community Advisors, and Building Blocks received Spirit of Detroit awards from City Council President Brenda Jones.

River Crest Apartments is located at 9333 and 9303 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Bakery and cafe to open in Midtown this spring

Cake Ambition is coming to Third Street.

In the seven years since starting her business, Cake Ambition owner Jessica Bouren has baked and crafted her specialty cakes out of a number of shared locations, from family kitchens to Traffic Jam & Snug, where she currently rents kitchen facilities. But this March, Bouren will finally have a place to call her own.

Cake Ambition will open a storefront at 4154 Third St. this March. The shop will operate as a bakery and cafe, allowing Bouren to bake in the back while customers enjoy cake and coffee at the cafe tables up front. There will also be a retail area where Bouren will carry products from local makers: coffees, teas, jams, and nuts will be complemented by a wall of old-fashioned candy.

The main focus, of course, will remain on her cakes.

Bouren can make a cake shaped like just about anything. She's made cakes that look like pirate ships and basketball sneakers, Mad Hatter hats and Jeeps. She's even made a cake in the shape of Lionel Richie's head.

She's been eyeing this particular location for five years, having first spotted the distinctive lime green storefront while out walking her dog. And it just so happened that the building's owner has been keeping their eye out for Bouren, too. Her landlord owns the floral shop Blossoms right next door.

"The owner was very interested in Cake Ambition as a tenant. It's a good combination for a cake shop to move in next to florists," says Bouren. "He held that space for me for a year."

Bouren is designing the shop to reflect her own style, which she characterizes as eclectic. She says it will have a vintage mid-century vibe mixed in with bright pops of color.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Mini-grants awarded to community groups seeking to transform vacant lots throughout city

Ten community-led projects have been selected by the Detroit Future City Implementation Office as mini-grant recipients. Each group received a $6,500 grant to jump-start their plans for vacant land revitalization projects.

In October 2015, the DFC Implementation Office released "Working with Lots: A Field Guide." The book featured 34 different design suggestions for vacant land use in the city. Rain gardens, native butterfly meadows, and natural ground pollution remediation techniques are just some of the projects found in the 74-page guide.

The Field Guide is available online and print editions can be found at the DFC Implementation Office in New Center.

Ten projects were selected from the more than 30 applicants entered for the mini-grant competition. While it's up to the community groups how to build and spend on their projects, the DFC Implementation Office does stipulate that from the $6,500 awarded, only a maximum of $5,000 can be spent on project implementation and that at least $1,500 must be reserved for maintenance, programming, and education.

The winning groups are GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation, Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation, Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block, Southwest Detroit Business Association, Minock Park Block Association, O'Hair Park Community Association, Popps Packing, Wyoming-Kentucky-Indiana-Wisconsin-Ohio Block Club, Motor City Grounds Crew, and Mecca Development Corporation.

"The Southwest Detroit Business Association is going to use the DFC grant to transform a currently vacant lot into an eco-friendly parking lot," says Greg Mangan, Real Estate Advocate at Southwest Detroit Business Association.

Being eco-friendly is definitely a theme. O'Hair Park Community Association, for example, is building the 8 Mile Rain Garden. "The 8 Mile Rain Garden lot design will help to manage stormwater runoff and will be a model for community members to duplicate as we begin to restore nearly 100 vacant side lots with purpose and beauty," says Joyce Daniel, O'Hair Park Community Association Treasurer.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Places to check out green infrastructure in Detroit

At Model D, we’ve been writing a lot about green infrastructure in the last few months, a topic which includes home-scale rain gardens as well as large public initiatives like catchment basins in parks. 
 
But no matter how well we write about it, a-hem, there’s no excuse for getting outside and seeing some of this stuff in action with your own eyes. Luckily, there are several places to check out green infrastructure in the city and perhaps get ideas for your home projects.

One of the best places to see a beautiful and environmentally friendly landscape is at William G. Milliken State Park on the Detroit waterfront. In the area near Atwater and Rivard streets, a compelling landscape of ponds, channels, wetlands and prairie creates the sort of environment needed to slow down the movement of water into the river that cleans the water prevents flooding. 

Highlights of the area at Milliken Park include the boardwalks and walkways that go along and over the wetlands, allowing visitors an up-close look at the various species that inhabit the space. These include a number of native flowering plants, insects, birds and even muskrats. 

You may be unlikely to install a muskrat-sized wetland on your own property, but this park is still a great place to visit to get ideas for rain gardens and prairie landscapes. It’s also a great place for kids. This writer has heard stories of children so distracted by the birds and butterflies in the wetland that they couldn’t be bothered with the nearby carousel. Surely this is a sign of progress.

Rouge Park and the surrounding area are another great areas to check out green infrastructure projects. Bio-swales installed by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department on Tireman to the west of the park line the road and catch water with the help of deep-rooted native plants.

In the park itself–which is the largest park in the city–there is a wildflower trail to the west of Outer Drive near the junction of Tireman. This is an excellent example of the kind of low-cost, low-maintenance landscape that can be used to catch and sequester water in a prairie landscape.

Nearby, off of Tireman itself is the Stone Bridge Trail, one of the nicer trails in the city. It wanders through the woods and wetland near the Rouge River. On a recent walk, I spotted a great blue heron here among other birds. There are also many examples of trees and understory species that thrive in wet environments, giving the gardener some ideas for the home garden. 

Also be sure to check out the bioswales at Cody Rouge's Stein Park, planted by high school students.

Seeing these spaces first-hand also helps homeowners and gardeners see how their efforts connect and support the larger ecosystem. If we are going to protect our local waterways from flooding and pollution, we all need to do our part. The reward for this work will be a more beautiful and abundant local landscape–and above all, cleaner water

This story is part of a series on measuring on the role of green infrastructure projects in Detroit's redevelopment. Support for this series is provided by the Erb Family Foundation to Greening of Detroit, Model D, and The Nature Conservancy. Read more articles from the series here.
 
2428 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts