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Black arts criticism journal to host book fair and fundraiser to help publish in Detroit

Taylor Renee Aldridge and Jessica Lynne, of Detroit and New York City, respectively, are bringing their internationally renowned arts criticism journal ARTS.BLACK to life in Detroit this August.

Recipients of the 2016 the John S. and James L. Knight Arts Challenge award, the co-founders of ARTS.BLACK are holding a Book Fair and "Friendrasier" at Good Lab in Detroit's Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood. The event takes place Saturday, Aug. 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Knight Arts Challenge award is contingent on the recipients raising matching funds and the book fair is an opportunity for Aldridge and Lynne to do just that. Funds raised from the award and book fair will cover publication costs, payments for writers, and continued operations for the journal, which provides art criticism from a Black perspective.

"We operate online and we're constantly interacting with the different communities there. The book fair is an opportunity to take a step back and interface more intimately with each other," says Aldridge. "It's an opportunity to talk about critical literature that isn't off-putting or intimidating. It'll open it up to people."

The ARTS.BLACK Book Fair and Friendraiser features books that focus on issues of art, labor, or both. New and used catalogs, zines, history books, and more will be on hand. Many of the books have been donated by Detroiters like Janet Webster Jones, owner of Source Booksellers.

ARTS.BLACK t-shirts and totes will also be for sale at the event. Music, refreshments, and snacks may also be part of the day's festivities.

"In our research, we've found that labor is an essential theme of an artist's practice in Detroit," says Aldridge.

"We really want to examine that and explore those themes."

Good Lab is located at 14720 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit. Click here for more information on the ARTS.BLACK Book Fair and Friendraiser.

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

NSO's Handlebars for the Homeless takes riders on a guided tour of city, with emphasis on '67

Neighborhood Service Organization is once again gearing up for its annual Handlebars for the Homeless bicycle tour. The 15-mile trek guides registered bicyclists through some of the city's more northern neighborhoods all the while raising funds for the 62-year-old non-profit organization, which promotes a comprehensive approach to eliminating homelessness, one of the largest such organizations in southeastern Michigan.

The event takes place on Sunday, Aug. 6 and begins at the NSO Bell Building, the organization's headquarters and home to 155 formerly homeless adults. On-site registration begins at 7 a.m. and the ride leaves the Bell Building at 9 a.m. and returns at noon. Riders can also register online.

Registration for the event costs $40 and includes a light breakfast, t-shirt, and spoke card. Registrants are also entered into a raffle with prizes that include an A-Type bicycle from Detroit Bikes—a $699.99 value—and bike helmet painted by Detroit artist Quinn Emery, among other prizes.

This year's Handlebars for the Homeless bicycle tour takes riders through the Live6 district, Sherwood Forest, Boston Edison, and Palmer Park neighborhoods, and the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College campuses.

David Rudolph, founder of Handlebars for the Homeless and NSO board member, says this year's route will highlight some of the areas touched by the civil unrest of 1967. The event has multiple missions, celebrating the city but also addressing the struggles of those living on its streets.

"NSO's Handlebars for Homeless educates participants about the challenges that face the more than 5,000 homeless individuals living on our streets, while also highlighting some of Detroit's most beautiful, thriving and up-and-coming neighborhoods," he said in a statement.

Proceeds raised from the event will be used for NSO programs like their Homeless Recovery Services. The comprehensive program includes a mobile unit that makes direct contact with the chronically homeless, a 24-hour walk-in crisis center, and the 155-room NSO building itself, among a number of additional services.

The NSO Bell Building is located at 882 Oakman Blvd. in Detroit.

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

New parks in downtown and Morningside among city's latest outdoor developments

It's summertime in the city. Let's take a look at some of Detroit's latest developments in outdoor recreation.

On Thursday, July 20, Beacon Park will get its chance to shine in the northwest section of downtown Detroit. A four day-long grand opening celebration is being held to commemorate the event, which will feature live musical performances from the likes of Thornetta Davis, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and Lord Huron, among others. Built by DTE Energy, the park boasts downtown Detroit's largest lawn, as well as year-long programming, light installations, and a brasserie-style restaurant. Beacon Park is located at the intersection of Cass and Grand River avenues.

The City of Detroit was awarded a $2 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to fund the design and pre-construction of the remaining uncompleted portions of the Inner Circle Greenway, a proposed 26-mile bike and pedestrian path throughout Detroit. The City of Detroit recently purchased a 7.5 mile stretch of abandoned rail to complete the greenway.

On Saturday, July 22, a dedication of the 12th Street Memorial and Pavilion is being held at the Joseph Walker Williams Recreation Center, located at 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd. The memorial and pavilion marks the 50th anniversary of the summer of 1967. A 5-by-7 foot permanent steel marker lists the 44 people known to have died from the events of that summer, while a small white cedar pavilion serves as a public gathering space and focal point for future community events. Musical performances from The Original Vandellas and The Robinson Singers are scheduled for the dedication, which runs from 2:45 to 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Residents of Morningside have the opportunity to design a brand new park in their neighborhood, though the design competition is open to the public at large. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the pilot program Give a Park, Get a Park will take a decommissioned park at I-94 and sell it to residents through the city's side lot program. It will then build a bigger, more centralized park for the neighborhood at Three Mile Drive and Munich Street. The deadline for design submissions is Monday, July 31.

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

Fast casual dining spot opens in the old Detroit News Building downtown

In its hundredth year, the Detroit News Building has opened its doors to the public with the addition of the Press Room Cafe, a nod to the building's past as well as a sign of a dining scene that could come to the still relatively quiet southwestern corner of downtown Detroit.

Located at 615 W. Lafayette Blvd. in the old Detroit News Building, the Press Room offers quick but quality dining options to area workers and passersby. Though it first opened in April 2017, a recent grand opening event was held to emphasize the point that the Press Room is open to the public, and not just nearby workers.

Bedrock, the Dan Gilbert real estate firm, owns the property, which counts Quicken Loans and Molina Healthcare among its tenants.

The Press Room is much more than a cafe. A breakfast, bakery, and coffee bar occupy one end, adjacent to a fireplace-lit seating area ideal for meetings. The breakfast spot features Avalon pastries and Intelligentsia coffee. In the center is a market, featuring items one might need to grab on their way home from work, including a number of local products.

It's at the west end of the space wherein lies the main attraction: lunch and dinner items from celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. Eurest, the dining services company behind Press Room Cafe, custom built the kitchen and grill to Viviani's exact needs.

"That stove is made specifically for him. It's kind of like the Ferrari of wood-fired pizza ovens," says Jessica Zucker, division marketing director of Eurest.

"It's all from-scratch pastas and pizzas. Fabio brought in his team and measured the humidity of the room to figure out how to make the right dough, which is made in-house. Everything's made from scratch."

In addition to Viviani's pizzas and pastas, the Press Room includes signature burgers, paninis, and salads among its other offerings.

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

Info sessions announced to help Detroit business owners and landlords apply for matching grants

This Thursday and next, information sessions are being held to assist city businesses through the application process for Detroit's latest small business booster program. Dubbed Motor City Re-Store, the program is designed to help existing businesses and their landlords in rehabilitating and improving the conditions of their buildings' exteriors.

The program offers matching grants for a range of construction projects, including improved facades, landscaping, and parking lots. Matching grants for design and architectural services are also available.

Much like Motor City Match, which city officials consider to be Re-Store's "comparison" program, Re-Store will offer up to $500,000 in matching grants to Detroit businesses and landlords every three months. Unlike Motor City Match, which is designed more to help businesses that are new to having a brick-and-mortar location in the city, Re-Store is designed with pre-existing business owners in mind.

The first information session is Thursday, June 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Good Cakes and Bakes, which is located at 19363 Livernois Ave. The second information session is Thursday, June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Matrix Center / Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, which is located at 13560 E. McNichols Rd.

Both are free and open to the public.

"The small neighborhood businesses that have hung in there over the years and have sustained our city are part of Detroit's revitalization. That's why we created Motor City Re-Store," Mayor Duggan said in a statement. "This is how we are going to bring our city back, by supporting our existing businesses and residents as we welcome new ones to our neighborhoods."

The application window for the first round of Motor City Re-Store is open from June 15 through Aug. 1. Applications are available online.

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

Detroit-based web series broadcasts from downtown, focuses on celebs and sneakerheads

A new web-based TV series broadcasting from the One Campus Martius building in downtown Detroit debuted this month. StockX TV documents the sneakerhead subculture, the collectors of limited edition and otherwise hard-to-find and valuable gym shoes. The company is billing StockX TV as the only program to focus exclusively on the re-sell sneaker market.

The premiere episode follows internationally-renowned DJ Steve Aoki on a "Cribs-esque tour" of his Las Vegas home, featuring a sneaker collection worth over $100,000. Episodes will debut in conjunction with the release of anticipated sneaker brands, with episode one covering the launch of the Air Jordan 4 Kaws and Air Jordan 1 Royal shoes.

The broadcast studio features an old ESPN SportsCenter desk and views of downtown Detroit, Windsor, and the Detroit River.

StockX TV is an extension of StockX, an online marketplace for high-demand and limited edition products. The company, which launched in February 2016, utilizes a live bid/ask method that can be found in the world stock markets. StockX was founded by Josh Luber and Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert.

"StockX TV represents an important step forward for both our brand and how we think about and use data and content," StockX CEO and host of StockX TV Josh Luber says in a statement. "There are only so many ways a sneakerhead can engage with sneakers, but data, which has always been a core part of our DNA, is a way to expand those opportunities."

Earlier this year, StockX announced a $6 million round of funding highlighted by a number of celebrity investors, including famed Detroit rapper Eminem. Other notable investors in the Detroit-based company include the actor Mark Wahlberg, former President and Vice Chairman of AOL Ted Leonsis, and NFL player Joe Haden.

Watch StockX TV online here.

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

New Matrix Head Start Center at Spirit of Hope offers children unique learning opportunities

A partnership between Matrix Human Services and Spirit of Hope Church has resulted in the opening of a new Head Start Center, providing children ages 3 to 5 years old with free preschool education while also helping to restore and preserve parts of a historic Detroit church.

The Matrix Head Start Center opened in the building this past March. Matrix and Spirit of Hope partnered to bring the Head Start Center up to code, providing much needed investment in and upgrades for the old church.

According to Nolana Nobles Bandy, assistant director for Matrix Head Start, the new Head Start location is "right where it needed to be," and that the Spirit of Hope location provides children with a more natural learning environment. Spirit of Hope's community garden and animals, which includes a pig and a number of chickens, will be used to teach children and their families about healthy eating habits.

Nobles Bandy also believes that the historic nature of the building—its sanctuary was built in 1892 and its annex was built in 1926—is a much better setting for learning when compared to a modern "cookie cutter" building that feels more like an office than a school. She speaks of lighting that has a beautiful glow and the echo of the children's steps, bouncing off the old architecture. "It's something different that sparks curiosity," she says.

Nobles Bandy, who has a Ph.D. in International Psychology and System Design, sees the church as a more comfortable setting for adults, too.

"People act differently when in a church compared to a clinic. It's a natural setting for expressing oneself," she says. "It's like a tree in the yard providing shade. People approach it on their own time when they need it."

The Head Start Center is currently recruiting children for classes, which is free and available to children from any zip code. Enrollment and more information can be found at www.matrixheadstart.org.

Spirit of Hope Church is located 1519 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

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

Debut duathlon to take place at (and benefit) Rouge Park

The first-ever Rouge-A-Thlon has been announced for April 22, 2017. The duathlon will wind runners and bikers through Rouge Park on Detroit's west side—at 1,184 acres, it's the city's largest park. Money raised will benefit Friends of Rouge Park and its efforts to maintain and improve the park's trails.

Tour de Troit is organizing for the event, which will take participants through a 5K trail run into a 10K street bike ride, and finishing with a second 5K trail run.

"There are so few duathlons in the Detroit area," Vittoria Katanski, director of Tour de Troit, says in a statement. "I think we're really filling a need for active people who want a jump start on summer training."

Registration is capped at 250 people. There are two tiers of registration, VIP and standard. The VIP tier is limited to 50 people and costs $140. It includes a Tour de Troit runner's towel, commemorative t-shirt, and premium placement on the run-to-bike transition. The standard tier costs $70 and includes a commemorative t-shirt. Registration for two-member relay teams is also available.

In addition to the commemorative gear, registered participants will be greeted with beer, Amicci's Pizza, and a finisher medal at the end of the race.

Rouge-A-Thlon running and biking partners RUNDetroit and Wheelhouse Hamtramck are hosting a free brick training workout on April 1 at the Wheelhouse Hamtramck storefront. Registration for the free event is available online.

Proceeds raised from the event will go to Friends of Rouge Park, a non-profit advocacy group for the park. The money will go toward park improvements, including trails.

"It's such a scenic, beautiful park, the runners really enjoy the views and the winding roads," says Katanski.

Registration for the Rouge-A-Thlon is available online.

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

Knight and Fisher Foundations grant $250,000 to nearly 40 community groups throughout Detroit

Community leaders and organizations in Detroit have been emboldened recently with the announcement of two grants totaling $250,000. The grants will support community leaders with professional training and development as they work on their community revitalization efforts.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is contributing an additional $150,000 to its Nonprofit Capacity Training program, which it started with the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan in 2014. The Knight Foundation has already granted $515,000 to the program.

The organizations set to receive the Nonprofit Capacity Training grants include Allied Media Projects, College for Creative Studies, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Focus:HOPE, Global Detroit, Jefferson East Inc., Michigan Community Resources, M.O.S.E.S., and Southwest Solutions.

"Ensuring that leaders who care about the community have the skills and resources they need to advance its growth is essential to the success of our city," Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit, said in a statement. "The organizations that will benefit from this program strive to foster neighborhood connections, expand opportunities for Detroiters, and increase civic engagementby making them stronger we can help advance these goals."

The Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation is investing $100,000 in 28 community organizations in Brightmoor. These include Brightmoor Alliance, Brightmoor Artisans Collective, Brightmoor Maker Space, Brightmoor Redford Aldersgate, Children of the Rising Sun Empowerment Center, City Covenant Church, City YearDetroit, Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, Crystal Swann Child Care, Development Centers, Don Bosco Hall, Everybody Ready, Greening of Detroit, Kristy’s Early Childhood Development Centers, Leland Community Affairs, Michigan Community Resources, Neighbors Building Brightmoor, Sidewalk Detroit, St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat Center, Urban Links Village, Village of Shiny Stars, Voices for Earth Justice, and a cohort training for four block clubs.

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is administering and managing the grants.

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

March development news round-up: Detroit Riverfront takes center stage

March has been a busy month for the Detroit River and its riverfront. Let's catch up on some of the biggest development news stories from the past several weeks.

The month started with a bang with the March 1st announcement of a new plan for the east riverfront, one that includes more public access and less private development. Officials at the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department, and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation touted their new plan, including three sites south of Atwater Street that were originally slated for private development and will now be the sites of three new public parks. Streetscape improvements and two new "Dequindre Cut"-style greentways are also part of the plan.

"The riverfront belongs to all Detroiters," Maurice D. Cox, director of the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department, said at the time. "Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of residents, we have principles that frame an international riverfront that can be accessed and enjoyed by all."

While public access will be improved, there are still plenty of opportunities for private development, including nearly 12 acres of riverfront real estate. Syncora, one of the city's biggest bondholders during its municipal bankruptcy, is seeking developers for two major plots of land, an 8.9 acre site at Chene and Atwater streets, and a 2.75 acre site at Rivard and Atwater streets. The Bermuda-based Syncora acquired the land as a result of a bankruptcy-related settlement.

It was also announced this month that the Gordie Howe International Bridge will feature bicycle and pedestrian access, allowing those traveling between the United States and Canada the opportunity to do so by foot or by bike. This is something not available at either the Ambassador Bridge or the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge is estimated to be completed in 2022.

For more on the pedestrian access across the International Bridge, read Jon Hartig's column in Model D

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

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.

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.
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