Revitalizing Northwest Detroit with a Community-Driven Strategic Framework
By Eleanore Eveleth, Executive Director, Sinai-Grace Guild Community Development Corporation
Joined by Northwest Neighborhood residents, City of Detroit officials and community, business and faith leaders, the Sinai Grace Guild Community Development Corporation (SGGCDC) introduced the Northwest Neighborhood Revitalization Strategic Framework (NRSF) to the Northwest Neighborhood community on Thursday, June 7.
The NRSF includes seven strategic focus areas:
- Commercial and economic development
- Economic security and wealth-building
- Residential stabilization and growth
- Open space and parks
- Mobility and sustainability
- Community-building and enhanced quality of life
- Leadership and neighborhood capacity development
The evening announcement was both the culmination of nearly a year of community engagement and planning and a new beginning for the neighborhood as SGGCDC and its community partners begin to move into execution mode, beginning with launching a new weatherization pilot program.
The weatherization pilot will upgrade 30 homes for older residents to reduce heating and cooling costs while connecting them to resources to make aging in place more affordable, convenient and safe.
We’ve come a long way since September 2017 when SGGCDC, with support from DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital and Enterprise Community Partners, commenced the engagement process to develop a vision and framework for local revitalization efforts.
SGGCDC brought together local institutions, residents, faith-based organizations, businesses and other stakeholders in an intentional process that has created a direction for future revitalization projects and highlighted opportunities for partnerships to strengthen the Northwest Neighborhood.
Meaningful community engagement is at the core of the overall mission to revitalize the area. Four community design workshops were coordinated to understand neighborhood assets and opportunities and to discuss project proposals. These workshops included leaders and residents from SGGCDC’s initial focus area, including the Winship, College Park, Crary/St. Mary’s, Belmont, Bethune, Harmony Village and Schulze neighborhoods. Between 85 and 105 residents attended each meeting.
In addition, more than 25 one-on-one and small group conversations with area residents and leaders were conducted as well as roughly two dozen community meetings and tabling opportunities to solicit input. Electronic and written surveys and phone surveys were also facilitated to better understand local needs.
Community stakeholders formed a steering committee to guide the framework process. This committee is open to all, but most members are representatives of organizations. It is made up of about 25 area leaders, nonprofit partners, City of Detroit departments and citywide technical assistance providers. Moving forward, the steering committee will continue to meet, share information across organizations and build a structure for decision-making.
The plan now is to continue to build relationships and have conversations with more institutions, residents, and business owners to develop strategies, project ideas and implementation designs together with the steering committee.
SGGCDC will continue to support resident-driven decisions and equitable revitalization in our community, building our neighborhood so that it’s reflective of the community’s vision and hopes. The strategic framework is just the beginning. Onward, together, we go.