Detroit to raise $130M for seven neighborhoods

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Detroit— The city is boosting its efforts to revitalize neighborhoods with plans to raise another $130 million for seven more areas in Detroit.

Officials announced Monday they were expanding the Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF), which is already investing $42 million in three neighborhoods.

The expanded fund, named SNF 2.0, will now target streetscapes, park improvements, commercial development and housing stabilization.

Ultimately, the fund is expected to produce 10 “vibrant, inclusive areas throughout the city, touching more than 60 individual neighborhoods over the next five years,” according to the city.

“In the first three neighborhoods, we went in and worked with the residents to support development and we saw incredible results,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement. “We’ve got new mixed-use apartment buildings with affordable housing, we have more businesses and more parks opening up.”

The Kresge Foundation already has committed $15 million to SNF 2.0.

The city and Invest Detroit are expected to raise another $56 million in corporate and philanthropic funds and match those with local, state and federal dollars.

City officials say SNF 2.0 will cover the neighborhoods of Grand River Northwest, Warrendale/Cody-Rouge, Russell Woods/Nardin Park, Campau/Banglatown, Gratiot/7 Mile, East Warren/Cadieux, and Jefferson Chalmers.

The initial $42 million investment is funding development in Islandview/Greater Villages, Vernor/Southwest and Livernois-McNichols areas.

Meanwhile, the city plans to raise $250 million to ensure the targeted neighborhoods “remain inclusive and affordable for both long-time residents and new residents.”

So far, Detroit has allocated $50 million to a housing fund and plans to preserve 10,000 existing affordable housing units and construct 2,000 more in the next five years.

“We are not going to grow as a city unless we do everything in our power to keep the residents we have and attract new residents to join the communities that current residents have built,” said Arthur Jemison, director of Housing and Revitalization. “Preserving and creating affordable housing as we invest in these areas is the right thing to do. There’s enough room for everyone in Detroit, no matter their income or background.”

Officials have called the first phase of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund a success, saying they met with residents several times to gather feedback.

For example, the city met with residents more than 50 times before launching the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project, which is set to open up a new park this summer and has led to demolition of blighted homes and renovations of others.

Stephanie Harbin, president of the San Juan Block Club, said she is pleased with the progress in Fitzgerald. She noted that vacant lots and alleys are being cleaned up.

“We are moving forward, and we are excited about the change,” Harbin said.

But some residents in the Islandview/Greater Villages area say they are still waiting to see a plan for improvements.

Mac Farr, executive director of the Village Community Development Corp., said he is hoping for sidewalk improvements, storm drain fixes and for the city to clean out alleys.

“There are a lot of basic nuts and bolts things that we just need to get a better grip on,” Farr said. “You can do it along with things like code enforcement and making more resources available to residents.”

Maurice Cox, director of Planning and Development for Detroit, said the city wants to “empower the residents to stay and be a part of this city’s comeback.”

“The people of Detroit who have stayed through the good times and the bad must be at the forefront of this effort. We want to make sure that Detroit’s recovery includes them, because they are Detroit’s future,” he said.

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Twitter: @NicquelTerry