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Plans in the works for revitalization of Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne, the historic star-shaped fortification located in Detroit's Delray neighborhood, is an underused landmark in the city. Aside from weekend visitors and the occasional event, the fort sits largely unused. But in the coming years, Fort Wayne may get considerably more use, perhaps even tenants.

The Kresge Foundation recently awarded a $265,000 grant for a two-year project of renovation and strategic planning.

The grant will help fund a project director, National Park Service urban fellow David Goldstein, to guide the planning process. "The consultant will also be charged with creating a leasing program for the City of Detroit, which will allow for the renovation and use of the more than 30 military buildings in the fort complex," according to the press release. "An RFP is expected to be released by spring 2018 to seek proposals from prospective tenants, including community and cultural organizations, to renovate and lease buildings on the fort grounds."

"For nearly 175 years, Historic Fort Wayne has stood as a cultural and historical landmark, today attracting some 150,000 visitors a year, from neighborhood soccer leagues to Civil War re-enactments," said George Jacobsen, senior program officer in Kresge’s Detroit Program, in a press release. "As we think about its place in the fabric of Detroit now and in the future, Historic Fort Wayne holds great promise as an active and connected point for the Southwest Detroit and broader communities to recreate, as a space to celebrate contributions of multiple cultures, and as a potential location to support the development of small and creative-sector businesses."

The project is a partnership between the City of Detroit, the National Park Foundation (NPF) and the National Park Service (NPS) Midwest Region.

National sports publication writes about DCFC's colorful fans

There's no doubt about the enthusiasm of fans for Detroit City FC. That's especially true after reading a recent article in SB Nation detailing the rabid fan base of the minor league soccer club that plays out of Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.

Part of that enthusiasm comes from something most professional teams lack—"a soccer movement that is also intrinsically tied to something bigger than just sport: building community," writes Liana Aghajanian. They've become embedded in their new home of Hamtramck and built goodwill with local residents.

The article also details a rally born out of frustration at the announcement of a possible Major League Soccer team in Detroit that took place between fans of DCFC and F.C. United—"a semi-professional team born out of frustration with the commercialization of English football owned and run by its 5,381 members"—based out of Manchester, England.

There's colorful descriptions of "Le Rouge," a nickname for DCFC and their fans, throughout the article, as well as figures like this: "This year, in addition to 15,000 people live streaming the event, more than 7,000 attended their opening match—a figure that some teams in higher leagues like the United Soccer League and the North American Soccer League fail to draw."

Click here to read the article in full.

How Detroiters can get involved with Standing Rock

Protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have become a major national story and one of the most prominent environmental movements in years. People from all over the country have travelled to Standing Rock, the portion of the pipeline that was set to be installed near a Native American reservation, to support the Sioux tribe who fear about the contamination of their main water source, The Missouri River.
 
In large part because of the scale of the protests, The Army Corps of Engineers recently decided to halt construction of the pipeline. While considered a major victory, protests are not expected to end anytime soon, especially since president-elect Donald Trump has said he's in favor of the pipeline.
 
Detroiters have also come out in force to support the protests. There have been benefits and fundraisers at Trinosophes, El Club, Marble Bar, Citizen Yoga, the Tangent Gallery, and more.
 
The art gallery and studio Riopelle is hosting a "Solidarity Night," presenting some of the avenues people can support the movement.
 
A documentary filmed by members of Activate! 313 after their visit to Standing Rock will be screened this Thursday at the Universe Building on Montana Street. Model D contributor Michele Oberholtzer also visited Standing Rock and wrote a very moving piece about it for her website.
 
These are just some of the ways Detroiters are getting involved in the Standing Rock protests. What other events, fundraisers, screenings, and protests are taking place? Comment below or send more information to feedback@modeldmedia.com. This article will be updated as we receive more information.

Live6 Alliance and Model D host productive community conversation

On Friday, December 9th, the Live6 Alliance and Model D came together to host a productive community conversation. Attendees included students, faculty and leadership from both the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, as well as residents and business owners who live and work in the communities along 6 Mile and Livernois Avenue.
 
Lead by the Live6 Alliance's executive director Lauren Hood, the event took place on the University of Detroit Mercy's campus. Over 50 people were in attendance, and participated in critical conversations around the role that higher institutions can play in the equitable growth of the area, how residents can be engaged, and addressing the diverse needs of everyone who lives, works and plays in the area.
 
Jay Meeks served as panelist for the event. He lives in a small community inside the Fitzgerald neighborhood, and would like to see Marygrove and the University of Detroit Mercy do more to community issues.

"I spoke about the institutions using their weight to tackle other community issues such as blight that are still very much a problem," he says. "I've called city hall, I've spoken to the district manager, I've talked to the land bank about open and trespass homes in the community. They haven't been boarded up, they've been torn down, so I would just like to see the college and the university call city hall as well, and join a coalition of people who are demanding if not immediate demolition or board up, then at least a response."
 
Reverend Dr. Gloria Albrecht, a professor in the master's of community development program at the University of Detroit Mercy, is also a Live6 resident. She gained a better understanding of the disconnect residents in the communities feel with the universities. "We have to go deeper than we did tonight," she says.
 
As the neighborhoods in the Live6 community continue to garner development attention, it's important to remember the unique makeup of this area. Neighborhoods like University District, and adjoining neighborhoods such as Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, and the Detroit Golf Club Community, are some of the most stable areas within the city, and have incomes significantly higher than the U.S. average. This flies in the face of the assumption that Detroit is a tabula rasa, and future development will have to delicately balance the needs and expectations of the strong communities that already exist in the neighborhoods of Live6.

Check out this video produced by Final5 on the event. 

656765339 from Final 5 on Vimeo.


Future Grandmont-Rosedale food hall could be huge boon for neighborhood

The residents of Grandmont-Rosedale have very few dining options. According to a recent Next City article, that's caused approximately $107 million of economic leakage as those residents travel to the suburbs or downtown Detroit for meals.
 
"To that end, Grandmont-Rosedale Development Corporation and FoodLab Detroit recently joined forces and won a grant from the state to begin planning for a food hall that could foster a more robust restaurant scene and be a boon for the local economy overall," writes Oscar Perry Abello.
 
The hope is that it will be a food hub for the neighborhood, possibly containing restaurants and a market, "while also creating a shared sit-down space for FoodLab."
 
There are not yet any details about when the hall will be completed.
 
To view the complete article, click here.

Photographer lists Detroit buildings that should be saved

Detroit has a mixed record of historic building preservation. Thanks to recent economic developments, many of it's building are not only being preserved, but restored.

[Check out this Model D article looking back at the last decade of historic preservation in Detroit]
 
But that doesn't mean there aren't buildings at risk of demolition. And one young photographer put together an excellent list titled, "Buildings in Detroit That Need to Be Saved in 2017."
 
Eric Hergenreder included seven buildings (many of which he photographed as well) in his list, such as the Belle Isle Zoo and Free Press Building.
 
Hergenreder also includes nice write-ups of each building, like this one for the United Artists Theater: "The United Artists Theater, which is currently owned by the Ilitch family, is in desperate need of a miracle. The Tigers Tycoon has threatened it with demolition a handful of times, but at this point, it still stands. The building has been secured (for the most part, my shattered heel says otherwise) and it sits empty on the corner of Bagley and Clifford."
 
Check out the full list here.

Regional Transit Authority looks to learn from other cities' transit wins

Regional transit in Southeast Michigan took a major hit this month.
 
"Metro Detroit had an opportunity to vastly upgrade its public transportation system this past election," writes Aaron Mondry in a recent article on income inequality for Model D. "A proposal was on the ballot that would have collected a millage across four Southeastern Michigan counties to fund a Regional Transit Authority for the implementation of BRT lines, commuter rail between Detroit and Ann Arbor, commuter routes, airport routes, and more."
 
But the proposal failed by about 18,000 votes.
 
A recent article in Next City details how Metro Detroit can move on from this setback and learn from other cities with robust regional transit systems. "Michael Ford, CEO of the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) of Southeast Michigan—the group that sought the 20-year, $3 billion property tax for new and improved bus and train service—said the organization will look in particular at what made initiatives successful in Seattle and Los Angeles," writes Jen Kinney.
 
Some of those lessons include better advocacy for the plan and taxing districts instead of whole counties.
 
Click here to read the article.

Detroit-based journalist lists ways people can support journalism

Journalism as an institution, especially some of its most prominent national publications, came under intense criticism during the campaign. As if the industry's economic struggles weren't enough, the president-elect called coverage of him "unfair" numerous times and pilloried journalists.
 
But in a surprising twist, news organizations received a spate of new subscriptions in the wake of the election. There seems to be a new urgency around reviving journalism as a means of keeping public officials accountable.
 
One local journalist and Model D contributor, Anna Clark, has advice for those who feel similarly. In a post on her website titled, "How to Support Good Journalism," Clark lists seven potential ways to do just that, including "Subscribe, donate, and/or advertise," "Support the work of those fighting for a free press," and more for both members of the media and reading public.
 
"This near-erasure of a news infrastructure over huge stretches of the country has a serious impact on our democracy," writes Clark. "Omnipresent issues that might rise to the surface in, say, Michigan or Wisconsin, never does; the national press that is almost entirely clustered on coasts is never alerted. Locally, the news vacuum contributes to a profound cycle of disinformation that citizens are fed about what is happening in their disinvested regions, and why."
 
Click here for the complete post and list.

Y Arts fundraiser doubles as a celebration of '60s psychedelic rock

There's lots of good reasons to attend a fundraiser for Y Arts, the arts and humanities branch of the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Of course, it's an opportunity to support an important arts organization. But if that's not enough of an incentive, this year's theme, "Y Arts' Rockin' Art Bash," promises to be a thrill for fans of '60s rock music.
 
The fundraiser, which takes place on Saturday, November 26, will have a screening of Kresge Kresge Fellow Tony D'Annunzio's Emmy Award Winning rock documentary "Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story," about the east-side Detroit venue.
 
The Y Arts press release gives a great description of the classic venue: "The Grande Ballroom stood as the epicenter of the Detroit rock music scene in the late 60s Serving as the starting point for bands such as MC5, Iggy & The Stooges, Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes, The Grande Ballroom not only influenced local Detroit musicians but inspired bands from all over the U.S. and Great Britain. Legendary acts like Led Zeppelin, Cream, B.B. King, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, and The Who graced The Grande Ballroom main stage on a regular basis. This is the story of the hallowed halls that started it all, told by the artists who helped create The Grandes legend."
 
The poster artwork of Gary Grimshaw will also be featured. And there will be a live musical performance followed by a Q&A with the director of "Louder Than Love."
 
All proceeds from the event will support Y Arts Detroit and the arts programming they provide to youth and families throughout Metropolitan Detroit. Tickets are available at http://rockinartbash.brownpapertickets.com/.

Startup Story Night accepting submissions for Detroit storytelling event

Everyone has a story to tell. And Southeast Michigan Startup and the New Economy Initiative want to help entrepreneurs tell theirs.
 
The two organizations are presenting Startup Story Night, the first of its kind in Detroit. It'll be a night of storytelling, hosted by a nationally renowned storyteller, and will take place in a unique venue in the wonderfully diverse city known for creation, creativity, boundless ideas—and the resolve to never quit.
 
The night will shine a spotlight on five local entrepreneurs who will share their "a-ha" moment—when they realized their idea or product would work despite the challenges. And readers who have attended Southeast Michigan Startup's High Growth Happy Hours or followed coverage of entrepreneurs who are scaling their businesses will have the opportunity to share their story and learn from their peers.
 
Here's how the process will work:
  • Submissions for stories are open until Dec. 9. Stories must not exceed 10 minutes.
  • A local committee will narrow down the submissions to five entrepreneurs and their stories.
  • The five entrepreneurs will be announced Jan. 3, 2017.
  • Startup Story Night will take place Jan. 19, 2017.
In addition, Detroit native Glynn Washington will be the featured host and storytelling coach. Washington is the host and executive producer of the WNYC-produced podcast Snap Judgment. Washington, a University of Michigan graduate who also received a law degree from U-M's law school, has a background of supporting and working with entrepreneurs. From 2007 to 2010, Washington was the director of the Center for Young Entrepreneurs at Haas, also known as YEAH, a program at the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business that serves at-risk students in middle and high schools.
 
Washington has received national acclaim in publications like The Atlantic, which called him the "fastest-rising public radio star in memory."
 
In addition to his hosting duties, Washington will conduct a workshop exclusively for the selected entrepreneurs to help them polish their stories and advise them in the art of storytelling onstage, under the bright lights and in front of an audience.
 
To submit a story for consideration, head over to Startup Story Night and fill out the short submission form.

Project Green Light offers to help businesses save money, improve safety through lighting rebates

For business owners struggling with the expense of installing external lighting, Project Green Light is here to help.
 
A collaboration between the City of Detroit and DTE Energy, Project Green Light is now offering thousands of dollars in rebates to "Detroit companies who install high-efficiency LED lighting and other energy-savings equipment at their businesses." Those that undertake these upgrades are eligible to receive as much as 65 percent off their purchases for an average savings of $7,000.
 
The program hopes to not only improve energy efficiency in the city, but also safety, as external lighting of business plays a huge role in crime reduction.
 
"DTE has taken great pride in supporting organizations that share our commitment to neighborhoods by promoting safety and implementing programs to revitalize our community—and Project Green Light is just one more great example," says Trevor Lauer, president of DTE Electric, in a press release.
 
Project Green Light was launched early this year and has continued to add incentives, including affordable external video cameras provided by Comcast, and now the rebate program. The program claims that those enrolled since its inception have experienced "a 50 percent reduction in violent crime."
 
52 Detroit businesses are currently enrolled. 

Bedrock gives sneak peak of units in their micro-apartment building

Curbed Detroit recently released photos and details of Bedrock's micro-apartment building, 28 Grand, currently under construction in Capitol Park.
 
The apartments are quite small—a dormitory-sized 260 square feet on average. But they do come fully furnished, with a kitchen and free Rocket Fiber internet connection included in rent.
 
Another cool feature of the building, according to Curbed Detroit editor Robin Runyan: "There will be 218 micro-apartments total, with 133 market-rate units and 85 apartments for those who qualify for low-income housing tax credits."
 
Click here to see more photos of the construction and some of the finished units.

Fitzgerald community meeting brings community, city together

City officials and community members met on October 24th at the University of Detroit Mercy's School of Architecture to continue discussions about the forthcoming Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, a city-led initiative to rehab over 350 plots of vacant land and houses in the Fitzgerald neighborhood of Detroit's northwest side.
 
This meeting was added after an October 4th meeting, where developers presented their proposed plans for Fitzgerald to community members. Questions and concerns that arose out of that meeting were part of the reason why the city wanted to give another opportunity for people to give feedback. Those at the October 24th meeting had the opportunity to vote on community priority areas for developers, which included issues like security, side lots, and affordable rentals.
 
Local hiring and workforce development was also a hot topic. This issue is particularly relevant in light of contractors for the Little Caesar's Arena being fined roughly $500,000 for their inability to hire the requisite 51 percent of Detroiters for the project.
 
"I want to make sure that the people who live there are well served by the project," said Frank Rashid, a University District resident. He expressed concern about the project fulfilling its intended purposes. "I want to make sure that the people who live there aren't priced out of their homes. I want to make sure whatever is done we're employing the people in the neighborhood."
 
On hand to field questions and feedback like those from Mr. Rashid were a number of city officials, including Alexa Bush, a senior planner with the City of Detroit, as well as Kim Tandy, the District Manager for District 2, which houses the Fitzgerald community.
 
Ms. Bush sees the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project as an opportunity for residents to take part in the future of their neighborhood and gain access to local jobs. "[W]e think that through the rehab of homes, through the transformation of some of these lots, that there's a real opportunity to find some of these jobs," Bush said. These possibilities, as a result, would benefit people living directly in the Fitzgerald neighborhood.
 
She also wants people to stay connected as the process continues to move forward. "I would encourage people who have concerns to come plug in with us, come out to a meeting, call us, check the website. Part of why we wanted to start so many months ago was to give time to get the word out," she said.
 
Community members like Stephanie Harbin are looking forward to what is ahead. Harbin has been a Fitzgerald resident since 1969 and is heavily involved in local community groups, including the San Juan Block Club and the Fitzgerald Community Council. "We are at the point where we need some new life in this area," Harbin said.

Midtown program seeks to prevent residents from being priced out of neighborhood

Gentrification is an issue being talked about a great deal in Detroit. It's a problem that's especially acute in neighborhoods like Midtown, where rents are rising so fast even tenants with steady jobs are having trouble keeping up.
 
That's one reason why Midtown, Inc. has launched their "Stay Midtown" cash assistance program.
 
According to a Detroit Free Press article written by John Gallagher, "The pilot program is aimed at residents of Midtown with annual household incomes that are 50 to 80 percent of area median income levels, or as low as $23,450 for a single person or $30,150 for a single parent with two children. Residents qualifying for help would receive up to $4,500 over a three-year period to bring their total housing expenses down to 30 percent of their income, a level considered normal under federal guidelines."
 
Funding for the program comes from the Kresge Foundation, Ford Foundation, and "the specialized lender Capital Impact Partners, which also helped design the program."
 
Midtown, Inc. hopes to help 100 households with the initial round of fund disbursements. 

New tool from Global Detroit demonstrates how immigrants can revitalize city's housing stock

In a recent column for The Renewal Project, Global Detroit director Steve Tobocman wrote about a new tool his organization helped develop for understanding the number of people that can afford a rehabbed home in a given city, and how many of these people are immigrants.
 
Global Detroit advocates for immigrants as a way to strengthen Detroit's economy. This tool was part of research conducted in collaboration with the Welcoming Economies Global Network and the Fiscal Policy Institute.

"[The results] suggest that immigrants represent some of the brightest potential for revitalizing urban communities, especially those with vacant and distressed properties," writes Tobocman.
 
Rust belt cities like Detroit represent a high percentage of these communities. The tool, meant for use by city planners, developers, and the like, "reveals that in 22 of 23 cities, immigrant households have the highest prospect among existing renters to be able to afford such a home."
 
Tobocman goes on to write: "While immigrants remain a smaller portion of the population of these cities (just 11 percent of the total), they remain a critical component for successfully revitalizing neighborhoods and stabilizing population loss. In fact, no great American city that lost population over the last 50 years has been able to grow its population without substantial increase in immigrant population."
 
[For more, check out Model D's article on the ways Metro Detroit is helping its immigrant population]
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