A 'well-spring of creativity, energy, and Detroit hustle': 28 projects win $1.9M in Kresge grants

Vacant lots in the Bagley neighborhood, transformed into perennial flower gardens and publicly accessible green space.

The construction of a public café in the Ruth Ellis Center, providing job training for LGBTQ+ youth.

A vacant building, transformed into a "professional recording arts facility and artist residency for entertainment-based cultural organizing centering the African diaspora."

All these and more have been announced as recipients of nearly $1.9 million in grants from The Kresge Foundation.

In total, 28 projects make up the sixth round of grants from the Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit initiative.

"Detroit may have been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Detroiters are undeterred in their commitment to make their neighborhoods better places to live and work, to find recreation and to express themselves," Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program, said in a release.

"The well-spring of creativity, energy, and Detroit hustle that we tapped into six years ago is still flowing – to the tune of 183 applications this time around. The final decision on just these 28 was difficult."

Since the initiative was first announced in 2014, the Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit program has awarded nearly $11.1 million in grants to 127 projects across the city.

Kresge has partnered with Michigan Community Resources, Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and Metropolitan Community Action Agency for this most recent cohort.

The Bailey Park Project in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood started seven years ago and won an earlier grant from Kresge for planning and design. Their selection in this most recent round of grants allows the organization to begin activating vacant lots and alleys, transforming them into public green spaces.

"The fact the McDougall-Hunt is not one of the affluent, traditionally organized neighborhoods in the city yet has come together to initiate and execute this project is huge," Katrina Watkins, founder of the Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation, said in the release.

"It is giving our residents a first-hand view of the work it takes to start a major improvement project and see it through to completion."

Click HERE to view the full list of projects online.

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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