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Detroit Development News

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Local audio equipment maker to ship products around the world

Detroit Audio Lab is going global. Well, locally manufactured and globally available, to be exact.

The decision, made official November 14, when they company felt it could pass the import/export demands of various countries, including the rigorous sustainability requirements of the European Union, says Detroit Audio Lab founder Mike Bauer.

While each country has its own rules for importing foreign products, Bauer says the fact that Detroit Audio Lab passes the strict WEEE and RoHS regulations of the European Union means that they can ship products just about anywhere. WEEE sets end-of-life waste disposal demands while RoHS bans certain hazardous substances from being used in electrical and electronic products.

"Shipping globally is more than going to the post office," says Bauer. "Products have to be packaged properly, they have to meet certain electrical requirements. Each country is a little different."

Detroit Audio Lab has taken orders from customers in the United Kingdom, Australia, and China, says Bauer.

It's a good start for the premium audio equipment company, which launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in late October. Detroit Audio Lab products include speakers, amps, and speaker stands, sourced from wood and pipe reclaimed from deconstructed houses throughout Detroit. Its electronics are exclusively sourced from Michigan-based companies, including control boards designed in-house.

Bauer cites two reasons for Detroit Audio Lab's global appeal. It manufactures and sells premium audio equipment, handmade yet technologically advanced. And then there's what Bauer calls the "D Factor." Assembly takes place at a facility on Bellevue Street in Detroit. Reclaimed wood and pipe is purchased from the Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit. The address of the house from where the material was reclaimed is laser engraved on each finished product.

"I thought the buzz would be local, in the state and in the Midwest," says Bauer. "But people all around the world are interested in the story of Detroit's renaissance."

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

Detroit dog daycare business to launch major expansion along the Cass Corridor

For all the residential and hockey arena-related developments happening along Cass Avenue, there's at least one being built for our four-legged friends. Canine to Five Detroit, the dog daycare business founded by owner Liz Blondy in 2005, has announced a major expansion, building a 10,000 sq. ft. addition adjacent to its current 6,000 sq. ft. facility.

Construction is set to begin in spring 2017 with a target completion date of fall 2017. 3,000 sq. ft. will be made available for rent to a retail business. Following the construction of the new building, the original facilities will see their own upgrades.

The $1.6 million development will result in the creation of 10 jobs and increase daycare capacity of dogs from 100 to 175. Additional features include private play areas, small breed-specific features, and a senior lounge for older dogs.

Canine to Five Detroit is the original location for the business, which expanded with a second location in Ferndale in 2013. Success was so immediate in Ferndale that Blondy was quickly forced to move to a 22,000 sq. ft. facility on Nine Mile Road. Blondy has learned from the Ferndale transition and is applying those lessons to the upcoming expansion in Detroit.

"I'm more prepared for it now. Any time you do something for the second time, it's a little bit easier," Blondy said in an October interview.

She's repeatedly gone over the plans and blueprints with not only Detroit-based architects DMET, but also with the Canine to Five staff. Mistakes are expensive, she said, and Blondy is making sure that the Detroit expansion goes as smoothly as possible, for her and the dogs.

Canine to Five Detroit is located at 3443 Cass Ave.

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

Detroit Future City, Michigan Community Resources mini grants spur green infrastructure projects

Two organizations are supporting implementation of green infrastructure in Detroit neighborhoods through competitive mini-grant programs.
 
Michigan Community Resources (MCR) in partnership with ULI Michigan recently announced the following five awards to community groups to implement green infrastructure:
 
  • The Jefferson Chalmers Community Food System to build a water catchment system to irrigate their cut flower farm.
  • Urban Neighborhood Initiatives to create a water catchment system on a commercial building
  • Earthworks Urban Farm for research and development of an affordable, modular solar pump that will allow for the captured water to be used for irrigation in urban agricultural systems.
  • North Corktown Neighborhood Association to build a four-season rain garden on a vacant lot.
  • Marygrove Community Association to create a community rain garden with park-like amenities on a residential lot.
Each recipient will receive $5,000 in cash from MCR for materials and construction and an additional $2,000 in cash from ULI for signage, education, and maintenance. ULI will also provide pro bono technical assistance from their network of civil engineers and landscape architects.
 
According to CEO Jill Ferrari, this program represents a shift in its service strategy and focus.
 
"MCR envisions a more comprehensive approach to neighborhood revitalization in the City of Detroit," says Ferrari. "To meet this challenge, we are focusing on more targeted technical assistance that includes support for sustainable community initiatives. We want to empower groups to design and implement projects that have environmental, social and financial sustainability so that their work in the community is more impactful."
 
Funding for the MCR mini-grants is provided through a grant from the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.
 
Detroit Future City is also working to stimulate green infrastructure implementation in neighborhoods through a second-year round of competitive mini-grants to support neighborhood transformation of vacant lots into green infrastructure assets.
 
The program is offering $65,000 in funds to up to ten neighborhood groups to utilize its DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots (available online at dfc-lots.com). Each group will receive a maximum of $5,000 to be used toward lot design and implementation. An additional maximum of $1,500 must be dedicated toward the maintenance of the lot, programming and education. The program is funded by the Kresge Foundation.
 
Applicants must be community groups which own the land or have written permission to use the land, and must demonstrate use of the field guide. To find out more on how to apply, contact the Detroit Future City Implementation Office.
 
Victoria Olivier is deputy director for neighborhoods for the DFC Implementation Office. She says the program is designed to work at small scales to address specific neighborhood goals. For example, the HOPE Village neighborhood installed a design on a lot that was adjacent to Davison Street to avoid it being seen as a cut-through for cars.
 
"If it was to serve as a shortcut to those businesses,  we wanted it to be for the community's pedestrians and be an inspiring space," says Olivier.
 
DFC has also partnered with ioby to implement a crowdfunding program so that neighborhoods can leverage grant funds to build additional community amenities beyond landscaping, as well as to support education and maintenance. She says the ultimate goal is to build capacity in neighborhoods.
 
"This is about building a cohort of land leaders through technical assistance and the connections they make with each other, so that these groups can then be a resource to their respective neighborhoods," says Olivier.

The Craft Cafe Detroit thrives on city's lower east side

The Craft Cafe Detroit is off to a fast start. The "sip and paint" party venue opened last June on Mack Avenue, just blocks from city's eastern border with Grosse Pointe Park, and it's already turning away customers as some parties reach capacity. But that's a good problem to have.

While owner Candice Meeks is considering a move to a bigger location, she says she wants to keep the Craft Cafe in the neighborhood. Its location is part of the reason for its success.

"The location at Mack and Phillip, there's nothing like this in our community," says Meeks. "You have to drive downtown and pay for parking or drive out to the suburbs for this kind of fun. We need to keep something like this in the neighborhood."

Craft Cafe Detroit hosts a wide variety of celebrations, from birthdays to bachelorette parties. Guests can bring their own food and drinks while Meeks leads the party through a painting session. Subjects are pre-sketched onto each person's canvas, allowing them to paint along while Meeks teaches different techniques like blending colors. She also offers vision mirrors, where guests create collages on mirrors and then seal them with a clear coat finish.

Other parties include Eat | Paint | Drink, where refreshments are provided, and monthly date nights, where couples paint together.

Meeks credits a number of small business programs that helped her get off the ground. She graduated from ProsperUs Detroit, where she met her current landlord. Meeks was also the recipient of a $4,000 technical assistance grant from Motor City Match. She says she plans on using the grant money to help with marketing and website construction costs.

"Going through those programs really gave me a platform to open my own business."

The Craft Cafe Detroit is located at 14600 Mack Ave. It's open Tuesday through Friday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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

Downtown co-working space to double in size, eyes big future

The Bamboo Detroit co-working space downtown is focused on the growth of its tenants, providing facilities, resources, and programming to freelancers and startups alike.

That commitment has resulted in the company's own expansion. Bamboo recently announced a new location twice the size of their current one at 1442 Brush St., growing from 3,000 to 6,000 sq. ft. of co-working facilities and more.

Come January 2017, Bamboo will open its doors on the third floor of the historic Julian C. Madison building at 1420 Washington Blvd. Construction is currently underway.

The new Bamboo location will count 20 dedicated desks, seven private offices, and three conference rooms among its new features. The private offices are in direct response to customers' needs, says co-owner Amanda Lewan. The current location doesn't offer private offices, a fact that Lewan says led to a loss of potential tenants.

The top floor of the new location boasts a loft-style events space, something Bamboo will use for job fairs and other pro-business programs. Also planned is a large cafe area, complete with coffee and snacks. In April 2016, Bamboo won a $30,000 Motor City Match grant to help build the cafe.

"Be really clear about what you need, have a really clear budget," Lewan says to future Motor City Match applicants. "It might not be perfect, you might still be playing around with it as you get close to the end, but if you have a really clear plan, people can get on board with it."

The company believes that the expansion will result in significantly more tenants, with Bamboo expecting the amount to grow from the current count of 120 to 300 tenants. 

Bamboo currently has a pop-up co-working space at MASH Detroit on the city's east side. Lewan says Bamboo may one day have multiple co-working sites throughout the city and its neighborhoods.

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

Clothing, gifts, and more: New retail storefront coming to Eastern Market

For the first time in 40 years, a retail storefront will occupy 1440 Gratiot Ave.

The new tenants will be Well Done Goods, a men's and women's accessories shop that will be opening in the Eastern Market space. 

Well Done Goods is the result of local tie and scarf maker Bethany Shorb's move to break out of the neckwear market and expand her reach to other products. Shorb's line of ties and scarves has sold under the Cyberoptix name for ten years and will continue to do so. Well Done Goods will carry those products, plus more of Shorb's creations, along with a curated selection from makers throughout the country.

"Our customers have asked and asked for us to put our designs on other things. What better place to launch that venture than right here in our hometown?" says Shorb.

New Cyberoptix products include aprons, pillows, and poster-sized art prints, all of which are screen-printed by hand in their 4,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, located directly above the storefront. Other Michigan products include JKM Soy Candles and sustainable tables from Union Town Woodshop. Also carried are vegan felt bags from the Los Angeles-based Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger and 3-D printed jewelry from Boston's Nervous System.

Following its Friday opening, Well Done Goods will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Well Done Goods is celebrating with a grand opening on Friday, November 4, from 6 to 10 p.m., which will include food and music, and is free and open to the public.

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

Using the literary arts to fight blight on Tuxedo Street

A sentimental drive by a childhood home is a common occurrence in the city, country, and everywhere betweeneven for Pulitzer Prize winners. Stephen Henderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Detroit Free Press columnist and host of both radio and television talk shows, has been checking in on his own childhood home since moving back to Detroit in 2007.

He says his family's former home on Tuxedo Street on the city's west side was well-kept back in 2007 but, as the years wore on, Henderson watched the house deteriorate. In 2012, a window was boarded up. Soon, all the windows would be boarded up. Eventually, the house was stripped.

Henderson is now leading a charge to transform the vacant house on Tuxedo Street from an eyesore into an asset. A purchase agreement to buy the house from the Detroit Land Bank is nearly complete.

Dubbed the Tuxedo Project, the house at 7124 Tuxedo St. will become a literary and community center, complete with an English professor-in-residence. The house will be rehabilitated and turned into a space for students and community members to share their stories and create new ones, using the literary arts to effect positive change. Plans for other abandoned homes on the 7100 block of Tuxedo Street will follow.

"It's the idea of the power of one," says Henderson. "What happens if one person returns to where they're from and tries to make changes, what will that inspire, and will there be a ripple effect of change."

Henderson has a big team behind him. The Knight Foundation and Marygrove College are working together to bring an English professor to Tuxedo Street. Members of Henderson's 1988 graduating class of University of Detroit Jesuit High School have rallied together to form a non-profit. And the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority have included the Tuxedo Project in its Public Spaces Community Places initiative.

Should the Tuxedo Project successfully raise $50,000 by November 28, MEDC and MSHDA will contribute a $50,000 matching grant. The crowdfunding campaign is being held on the Michigan-based Patronicity platform.

"None of this is any more than an idea in my head without these partnerships," says Henderson.

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

It's a match! MCM winners use grant money to help cushion construction costs

Construction is starting this week on the Meta Physica Wellness Center in Corktown. The business will be located in the Bagley and Trumbull building, which counts the Bearded Lady salon and barber shop, Mama Coo's Boutique, and the Farmer's Hand market as its tenants. The latter two businesses are Motor City Match winners. All four businesses in the Bagley and Trumbull building will be women-owned.

Meta Physica Wellness Center owner Jenevieve Biernat started her massage business in Midtown, which she has since outgrown. The Corktown studio will feature expanded services, including two massage rooms, three saunas, a raw juice bar, and an apothecary. Biernat won both a $50,000 Hatch award and a $20,000 Motor City Match grant for her business earlier this year.

"Every bit of money helps," says Biernat. "You don't always know how much you need going in but it turns out you need a lot of money to do this."

Biernat says that once she's established, she'd like to put herself in a position to help others through the Motor City Match application process.

A resident of Corktown, Biernat has been visiting the other shops at Bagley and Trumbull nearly every day, learning from her future neighbors, and soaking up as much advice and information that she can.

Another $20,000 Motor City Match grant winner, Noelle Lothamer, is currently in the midst of construction of an Eastern Market storefront for her Beau Bien Fine Foods. The Michigan-sourced fruit jam-, chutney-, and mustard-makers recently celebrated the one year anniversary of their Eastern Market location, which has served primarily as a kitchen.

Lothamer says the money won from Motor City Match has quickly gone toward construction costs, including the storefront, roof, and some other much needed repairs. "As soon as we knew we could spend it, we did."

The hope is for the storefront to open by Thanksgiving, though Lothamer cautions that there is no set date. In addition to acting as a retail area for their jams, chutneys, and mustards, the Beau Bien Fine Foods storefront will also offer grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and drinks.

Meta Physica Wellness Center is located at 1707 Trumbull Ave.

Beau Bien Fine Foods is located at 2478 Riopelle St.

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

New veterinary house call company opens in downtown Detroit

Pet owners across the city of Detroit and some of its suburbs can access a new service that improves access to veterinary care. It's called PetCalls, a company that sends veterinarians and veterinary technicians on house calls.

PetCalls offers a number of on-site services like vaccinations and digital x-rays. For surgeries and other services, the vets will "pet taxi" the animal to a clinic. House calls start at $59.

CEO and owner Kimberly Jackson says the company is perfect for senior citizens who have mobility issues and millenials that don't have their own vehicles. It's also good for the pets; Jackson cites recent cases that include a cat that would vomit every time it was put in a car and a rescue pit bull that refused to get in a vehicle.

"We started seeing patients the day after Labor Day and we've already been able to see animals that haven't been able to get to a veterinarian in years," says Jackson. "It's very exciting."

The house calls also allow the veterinarians to see pets in a more relaxed and natural setting. They can watch a dog run in its own backyard and assess potential injuries or watch a cat and observe its regular eating habits.

Though PetCalls began seeing patients in September, the company will be celebrating its grand opening Thursday, Oct. 20 from 5 to 9 p.m. at its downtown Detroit office on Washington Boulevard. The celebration is open to the public and their pets.

Rather than a ribbon-cutting ceremony, PetCalls is having an edible ribbon for the dogs to chew apart. A Halloween parade down Washington Boulevard is also planned and the dog with the best costume will receive a year's worth of heartworm protection. Other giveaways include pet bandanas, toys, and identification tags.

There will also be refreshments for the humans.

PetCalls is located at 1514 Washington Blvd., Suite 203, and can be reached by phone at (313) 788-7387.

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

Third round of grant program seeks to give $2M to Detroit non-profits

Major foundations has been very generous to Detroit nonprofits in recent years. Once again, these groups are being encouraged to apply for up to $150,000 in grant money.

The Kresge Foundation is giving away a total of $2 million in the third round of its Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit program. $3 million has already been granted through the first two rounds of the program, which launched in 2014.

The Kresge Foundation expects to award the grants to 15 to 20 groups across the city, including at least one in each of Detroit's seven city council districts. The money is reserved for implementation grants and each project has 18 months to reach completion. Nonprofit organizations have until Nov. 21 to submit their applications, which can be done online.

The grants will be awarded to those projects that focus on vacant land use issues, public and open space, and neighborhood stabilization programs. Previous grant-winners include exercise pocket parks in central Detroit, a neighborhood clean-up and stabilization program in the Osborn neighborhood, and a green parking lot and community space in Grandmont Rosedale.

"This initiative has been successful because of the knowledge, know-how and dedication of residents and leaders across Detroit's neighborhoods," George C. Jacobsen, senior program officer of The Kresge Foundation's Detroit Program, says in a statement. "We continue to learn from the grantees we've funded over the first two rounds about what it takes to make a tangible difference in city neighborhoods as well as how we might continue to support their ability to catalyze further efforts in building stronger neighborhoods."

Two informative sessions will be held for those interested in applying for the grant. The first will be held at Jam Handy on Oct. 25 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and the second will be held at TechTown on Nov. 15 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

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

Traveling retail event with focus on socially-conscious businesses comes to Eastern Market

The Mercantile is coming to Detroit.

The touring retail event, which began September 25 in Nashville and ends December 4 in Los Angeles, makes the second of three stops at The Eastern events space in Detroit's Eastern Market.

More than just a traditional flea market or arts and crafts fair, The Mercantile celebrates only those businesses that are cause-based makers and retailers, hosting socially-conscious businesses located in Detroit, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Dine Drink Detroit will provide food and drinks and the Nashville-based pop-soul band the Shadowboxers will perform.

More than 25 vendors will be on hand, including 16 brands from Detroit. They include jewelry maker Rebel Nell, which uses repurposed materials to make its products while hiring and educating disadvantaged women; Love Travels Imports, which finds and sells Fair Trade handcrafted art from around the world, emphasizing self-empowerment and sustainability; and LeadHead Glass, which recycles and reuses glass and wood from deconstructed homes in Detroit to construct terrariums and other glassworks.

The Mercantile was thought up by Matthew Ford, a former metro Detroiter who now owns Oaken Anchor, an event production company based in Los Angeles and Nashville. He approached his friend Steve Fortunato, who owns the L.A.-based Hospitality Collaborative catering company, and suggested they do something with more than the bottom line in mind. Fortunato tapped his friend Emily Henderson, a former HGTV lifestyle personality, to help design the event and soon The Mercantile was to debut.

For a lot of socially-conscious businesses, selling themselves may not be their number one priority. Ford thinks an event like The Mercantile can help businesses more concerned with helping others than themselves do both at the same time.

"So often, the term 'commerce' can be the giant elephant in the room with these businesses," says Ford. "But we're unabashed about it. We want people to spend their money on these businesses."

The Mercantile takes place Sunday, October 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 8L00 p.m. at The Eastern, which is located at 3434 Russell St. Tickets are $15 in advance and $22 at the door.

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

'Impromptu performance space' to open along Dequindre Cut

The Dequindre Cut, that two mile-long stretch of paved greenway connecting Eastern Market with the Detroit riverfront, was designed with bicyclists and pedestrians in mind. And while movement motivates much of its usage, it's a stationary feature that will soon be celebrated.

The Campbell Memorial Terrace, an outdoor performance space, will officially be unveiled this Thursday, October 13. A children's concert, its first scheduled programming, will occur during the Harvestfest Detroit celebration on Saturday, October 22.

Located at the base of the Lafayette Street ramp between Orleans and St. Aubin streets, the Terrace includes a covered stage for performances and tiered seating walls for spectators.

The Terrace was designed with the community in mind. While there will be the occasional scheduled performance, its real function will be determined by those who use it. The space has a come-what-may policyno permits or reservations required. Whether it's working musicians wanting to put on an impromptu performance, local poets wanting to give readings, or neighborhood children coming up with their own fun and games, if the stage is open, the community is encouraged to use it.

Spontaneity is the name of the game here.

"We wanted to leave it flexible and see what the community comes up with," says Mark Wallace, president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. "We set the table and let the community bring the programming instead of us bringing the programming from the top down."

The Campbell Memorial Terrace is named after C. David Campbell, former president of the McGregor Fund and a founding member of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. A long-standing member of the Detroit non-profit community, Campbell passed away in 2014. The McGregor Fund presented the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy with a $1 million gift to honor Campbell. According to those responsible, the terrace, which incorporates all the things Campbell lovedthe outdoors, music, art, and, most of all, the communitydoes just that.

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

Detroit green infrastructure mapping project kicks off

A coalition of City of Detroit leaders is working to build a database and mapping system to track the growing number of green infrastructure projects in the city.

Members of the Blue-Green Infrastructure Workgroup are starting by developing consistent definitions for green infrastructure (GI) types in the city. That will allow the group to develop a tool for users to enter data about their projects into a standard mapping system. 
 
The project is led by The Nature Conservancy, Greening of Detroit and Issue Media Group, publisher of Model D, and is funded by the Erb Family Foundation.

The Chicago-based Center for Neighborhood Technology defines GI as "a network of decentralized stormwater management practices, such as green roofs, trees, rain gardens, and permeable pavement, that can capture and infiltrate rain where it falls, thus reducing stormwater runoff and improving the health of surrounding waterways."

The project aims to create a baseline understanding of the universe of GI projects in the city. It will also serve to coordinate actions among partners and property owners, according to project coordinator Valerie Strassberg. Strassberg directs The Nature Conservancy's Detroit City Program.

The idea for the project emerged from meetings of the Blue-Green Infrastructure Workgroup. The Erb Family Foundation facilitates the group for funding recipients implementing green infrastructure projects across the city.

"Those meetings were a catalyst for keeping everyone abreast of what was going on," says Strassberg. "We realized that if Erb weren't convening the group, how would we ever know who's doing what? There was a clear need for mapping."

The group is taking a phased approach to the project. In the first phase, the definitions and structure of the database will be developed with the input of multiple stakeholders. Ultimately, the group aims to develop a common web portal to allow users to view projects in their neighborhood and input their project data.

The data may become important as the City of Detroit moves towards implementing stormwater drainage fees. The Detroit Free Press reports that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will allow ratepayers to use green infrastructure to earn credit towards their stormwater drainage bills.

Strassberg says it's not yet clear who will be the ultimate steward of the database and website once the project is completed.

"Ideally it would be the city which maintains the database in the long run," she says. "But to get it off the ground, we are developing this project in partnership with the city."

Strassberg is hopeful that additional funding beyond this first phase will help garner commitment from the city for long-term ownership of the project.

The Blue-Green Infrastructure Workgroup includes representatives from the following organizations:

City of Detroit
Tetra Tech
Detroit Future City
Detroit Greenways Coalition
Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
Erb Family Foundation
Greening of Detroit
Issue Media Group
Michigan Community Resources
Michigan State University
SEMCOG
Sierra Club
The Nature Conservancy
The University of Michigan
Wayne State University

Stretch of Brightmoor sidewalk to become interactive running track

A group from the University of Michigan has won a $40,000 grant to build an interactive play space along a broken stretch of sidewalk in the Brightmoor neighborhood. Titled FitLIGHT, the project was a winner of the Play Everywhere Challenge, a national competition from KaBOOM!, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging physical activity in young people.

FitLIGHT will transform a busted up sidewalk along Burt Road into an illuminated rubber-surface running track. A solar-powered speed display will tell people how fast they are running. The track will start at a length of 50 yards and has the potential to grow, depending on the construction.

The project was designed to combat childhood obesity with the help of a little healthy competition, says University of Michigan associate professor Nick Tobier, who along with colleague and assistant professor Roland Graf headed the project. It was designed by staff from the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design, with collaboration from Michael Flynn. Tobier has been working in Brightmoor for nearly ten years through a class he teaches in collaboration with Detroit Community Schools.

The FitLIGHT track is adjacent to the to-be-completed Brightmoor Maker Space, itself located on a vacant plot on the Detroit Community Schools campus. 

"There's a big opportunity to get more creative with physical education," says Tobier. "There's a lot of potential there."

Tobier's Change by Design classes at University of Michigan combine design and technology to stimulate physical activity in young people. His students work with Brightmoor students to come up with the projects, like an LED shoelace network, lighting up as students moved their bodies.

Tobier is aiming for a March 2017 construction date. In the meantime, he's soliciting bids for the construction process, organizing small workshops to get people interested, and performing informative on-the-street introductions to FitLIGHT.

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

New digs for city dogs: Detroit Animal Care and Control moves to new and improved building

Detroit Animal Care and Control (DACC) has begun moving in to its new facility, the old Michigan Humane Society building at 7401 Chrysler Dr. The building was a gift from MHS, which itself moved to a new facility at 7887 Chrysler Dr., just two blocks north of the building it called home since 1931.

The new headquarters is being heralded as a dramatic improvement for DACC in a year that has already seen its fare share. Since 2016, DACC began working with MHS, Detroit Dog Rescue, other local municipal shelters, and a number of additional partners to improve the city service, which is a division of the Detroit Health Department.

In 2015, the DACC live release rate was 26 percent. Since its new partnerships at the start of the year, the DACC live release rate has increased to 61 percent.

DAAC was previously located at 3511 W. Jefferson Ave.

"This move will enable us to better serve the City's residents and their pets," Melissa Miller, Director of DACC, said in a statement. "We're really thankful to our partners who have made this possible, including MHS for donating the facility, and we look forward to the day when we are fully operational in our new space."

DACC will offer reduced services during the transition but will keep field units on city streets. Its dispatch line, reached by phone at (313) 224-6356, is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Michigan Humane Society left its longtime Detroit headquarters for its new campus in Spring of 2016. The new building is a 35,000 sq. ft. animal care center and is located on a five-acre campus off of the I-75 service drive. Its features include an expanded veterinary center, animal cruelty investigation and rescue center, and dog play yards.

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