Live6 community dialogue series, Speakeasy, to continue through end of 2017

Residents and stakeholders in the Live6 area are particularly committed to dialogue. 
Encompassing the neighborhoods in and around Marygrove College and the University of Detroit Mercy, the Live6 area faces a number of challenges, from activating its vacant storefronts on McNichols Road to improving neighborhood safety. But given its institutional advantages and increased foundation support, as evidenced by the massive Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, the Live6 area has some incredible opportunities as well.
Spearheaded by Live6 Alliance executive director Lauren Hood, the community is working out a number of these issues through its Speakeasy dialogue series. Each event in the monthly series is held at a local establishment and focused on an important local issue, such as youth engagement and programming vacant space. 
"With many of the upcoming neighborhood initiatives involving parks, greenways, farmers markets, and other temporary activations, we sought to get some stakeholder direction on how to most inclusively program these spaces," writes Hood on last month's installment. "What transpired was some frank, brutally honest dialogue from residents who were concerned about the rapid change in the neighborhood, that some felt did not include them. It was a difficult but necessary conversation to have. We are better informed from it and are now more focused on reaching those residents that are hardest to reach."
To get a taste of the kind of intense, honest discussions that can take place at these events, here's a quote from resident Jay Meeks at the first Speakeasy on the relationships between the universities and residents. "I spoke about the institutions using their weight to tackle other community issues such as blight that are still very much a problem," he said. "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."
This month's installment, which takes place on June 16, will be on neighborhood arts and culture (you can read more about the importance of art to the Live6 area in this Model D article). Future installments will be on the area's small business and cultural corridors, mobility, and more.

This month's installment of Speakeasy on "Neighborhood Arts & Culture" will be held at Denk Chapman Hall at the Marygrove College's campus on Friday, June 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. To stay updated on exact dates, times, and themes, be sure to subscribe to the Live6 Alliance newsletter. To stay updated on exact dates, times, and themes, be sure to subscribe to the Live6 Alliance newsletter. 
Model D helped with planning and support for the first two Speakeasy events. Read recaps of them here and here
Every Speakeasy event has been recorded by video production firm Final5. Check out past installments here
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Read more articles by Aaron Mondry.

Aaron Mondry is a Detroit-based freelance writer. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @AaronMondry.