Avalon Village continues to grow in Highland Park, adds seven properties from Michigan Land Bank

Seven more properties have come into the possession of Avalon Village, this thanks to the Michigan Land Bank, which has deeded the seven properties to the sustainable eco-village in Highland Park.

In total, Avalon Village now owns a mix of 30 houses and parcels of land on its stretch of Avalon Street, between Woodward and Second avenues. The Michigan Land Bank has deeded 11 of those properties.

For Avalon Village CEO Shamayim "Mama Shu" Harris, the seven properties mean even more opportunity to improve the quality of life in her community. She's actively been doing so for about ten years now, inspired by the hit-and-run death of her two-year old son Jakobi Ra in 2007.

In that time, she's gone from simple acts like cleaning up vacant lots to now owning 30 properties. Harris built community gathering space Jakobi Ra Park, as well as the Goddess Marketplace for women entrepreneurs. She's received a lot of attention for her efforts and, in 2016, Harris received a gift from comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres: A pre-fabricated home to serve as the village headquarters.

[Read Model D's article on Highland Park featuring "Mama Shu"]

On-going projects include the Homework House, which will serve as a safe place for area children to study and socialize.The Avalon Village Healing House, the Blue Moon Cafe, and the Avalon Village Community Greenhouse are also planned.

"Partners like the Michigan Land Bank help us continue to strengthen our community," Harris says in a statement. "These seven properties will help us take Avalon Village from blight to beauty faster and more efficiently than we would have been able to do on our own. We are building a sense of pride for the people who live here and are working hard to make this a better, safer place; one property at a time."

Over half of Highland Park's 7,000 parcels are owned by public entities, and they're now ready to offer them to organizations and businesses like Avalon Village. The city, Michigan Land Bank, and Wayne County Land Bank will soon issue a Request for Qualifications to determine and attract qualified developers for nearly 1,000 properties.

Potential developers must submit their qualifications by noon, Feb. 9. 

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

Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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