A closer look at the 10 Detroit areas selected for Strategic Neighborhood Fund 2.0
Density, commercial corridor potential two key components
As announced last week, the Strategic Neighborhood Fund is adding an additional $130 million investment in seven neighborhoods to an already announced $42 million initiative in three neighborhoods, all with the goal of improving streetscapes and walkability, kickstarting local business and adding or preserving affordable housing.
Invest Detroit, which manages for-profit and non-profit funds for community development, is spearheading the fund management for SNF 2.0. The City of Detroit worked in collaboration with Invest Detroit to seek out the 10 neighborhoods for strategic development, which will — inevitably — spread to neighborhoods beyond the 10.
Here’s a quick rundown of each of the 10 neighborhoods:
The City of Detroti’s Planning Department envisions several neighborhoods in Detroit being a “20-minute” neighborhood, meaning any resident can walk or bike to schools, employment, parks and recreation and local business 20 minutes from their home. Neighborhoods along the West Vernor Highway corridor are the closest example to 20-minute neighborhoods that already exist. SNF looks to build off the existing ecosystem of small businesses with Clark Park as the area’s centerpiece.
Though always a culinary destination with staples like Southern Fires in the area for years, recent additions to the neighborhood like Detroit Vegan Soul and Craft Work have made the area attractive to restauranteurs. Add in the existing housing stock — large single-family and multi-family homes in Islandview and East Village, apartment buildings in West Village and larger homes in Indian Village — with longtime residents, the opportunity to create additional affordable housing and kickstart a growing business community. The area is also anchored by the Butzel Recreational Center, a strong community gathering place.
With national historic designation and large-scale renovation projects (including the Vanity Ballroom) along Jefferson Avenue, a burgeoning business strip to support a strong network of block clubs in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood makes this a prime SNF candidate. Jefferson Avenue will also see improved bike lanes — already in the City’s plan — and neigbhors will see improved waterfront parks alongside the canals in the neighborhood.
Around the East English Village, Morningside and Yorkshire Village neighborhoods are a strong commercial strip on Cadieux and a strip with great potential on East Warren. Its proximity to the I-94 corridor and other SNF neighborhoods (Jefferson-Chalmers and Gratiot 7-Mile) and ongoing renovation projects (the Alger Theater) make this area a prime SNF candidate.
The challenges in the 48205 neighborhood — on Instagram or otherwise — and surrounding areas could potentially be resolved if there were more investment in into employment solutions along the Gratiot and 7 Mile corridors, as well as adding support to neighborhood organizations already doing the work, such as the long-standing Osborn Development Center.
A unique neighborhood in Detroit and reflective of the city’s ever-changing demographics, this densely packed eastside neighborhood is a “paced learning experience” in pinpointing the needs of a newly arrived immigrant community. With a new cricket field, strong schools and a tight-knit community — plus a growing commercial corridor along Conant Avenue — Banglatown will be a much-watched neighborhood in the coming years.
Russell Woods/Nardin Park
Unlike some of the other neighborhoods, this area is densely packed — particularly in Russell Woods proper — but lacks strong commercial activity. While Davison Avenue has a number of strip malls, other major streets in the area (Dexter, Livernois) are lacking in business. By playing off the strengths of density, the goal here is to revitalize the commercial corridors and further revitalize the residential areas.
Already in progress with the Fitz Forward project in the Fitzgerald neighborhood, a network of dense neighborhoods (Bagley, University District, Sherwood Forest, Green Acres) along the Avenue of Fashion can become interconnected even further with additional investment. The proposed investments announced last year have already resulted in interest in commercial activity along Livernois.
Leveraging its proximity to Rouge Park, one of the largest parks in the city, this dense collection of diverse neighborhoods has a number of busy roads, including Joy Road, Greenfield Road, the Southfield Freeway and more. By connecting a greenway to Rouge and strengthening existing block clubs and neighborhoods in the area, this part of the west side can see a huge boost.
Over the next few weeks, The Neighborhoods will be profiling various aspects of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund and what it means for Detroiters. Along the way, we’ll keep you posted on meeting dates and times, and ways you can get involved. Got any thoughts? Drop us a line at [email protected]