The community revitalization work of the HOPE Village Initiative focuses on partnering with residents and businesses to redevelop and rebuild the physical fabric of the community. Focus: HOPE’s revitalization initiatives include:
- Revitalizing parks and public spaces,
- Facilitating commercial revitalization,
- Working with homeowners to repair existing housing,
- Working in partnership with others to develop new housing,
- Coordinating community cleanups and blight elimination, and
- Working to stop illegal dumping in the area.
Each investment in our neighborhood builds momentum and helps to create a safe, strong and nurturing neighborhood where children and their families can develop to their full potential Some recent investments include:
Five years ago, the park at the corner of Ford and LaSalle, just two blocks south of Focus: HOPE, had dilapidated, antiquated and unsafe play equipment. Children rarely played there – and many adults used the park for gambling and other illicit purposes. Today, that same park has a colorful, safe playscape, picnic area, and basketball court. This radical change was the result of Focus: HOPE working with community residents to form the Ford/LaSalle Park Revitalization Committee. Now, each summer, the Ford/LaSalle Park Revitalization Committee works with volunteers from Summer in the City, to provide recreational and fun learning activities for neighborhood children at the park.
HOPE Community Park is a new community public space created on the site of a former vacant and overgrown parking lot with funding from the Cool Cities Initiative and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, trees from Greening of Detroit, and plants from Lowes and other sources. Concerts and a movie night drew residents to the park last summer – and more activities are planned for 2010.
Village of Oakman Manor
This senior living community, built by Oakman Manor Senior Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit corporation formed by Presbyterian Village of Michigan in collaboration with Focus: HOPE, was the first new construction in the area in 50 years. It opened in 2007, is managed by Presbyterian Villages, and provides safe, affordable housing for 54 very low income senior citizens, many of whom once lived in homes in the area.
Bell Building Redevelopment
The landmark Bell Building on Oakman Boulevard and the Lodge Freeway is most famous for its giant Yellow Pages neon sign – that no longer works. The building is on the verge of having a new life as the headquarters of Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), also providing 155 units of permanent supportive housing. Exciting plans for the site are emerging. Stay tuned!
Davison Avenue Improvements
Improvements to business facades and pedestrian safety are underway along Davison Avenue, west of the Lodge. A $150,000 grant from the City of Detroit’s Refresh Detroit! program will enable some businesses to update their facades while $1 million of Michigan Department of Transportation funding was used to resurface the street and improve pedestrian safety by installing pedestrian countdown signals at all intersections, and by installing new pedestrian refuge islands in several places.
Dozens of smaller projects are having a big impact in our neighborhoods. Efforts range from cutting down weeds on abandoned lots to boarding up abandoned buildings and tearing down others. Each is a step toward a safer community.