City and business partners announce historic $35M corporate commitment to Detroit neighborhoods

American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Chemical Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Flagstar Bank, Huntington Bank, Penske Corporation committing $5M each

  • Largest corporate donation to neighborhood development in Detroit history expected to leverage another $70M for a total of $105M in new neighborhood investment
  • Commitments to fund physical improvements to parks, streetscapes, commercial corridors, single family housing and affordable housing over next five years
  • All investment guided by community engagement in seven latest Strategic Neighborhood Fund areas

Detroit’s neighborhoods are getting a record $35 million boost to spur development and physical improvements, thanks to historic commitments from seven companies, Mayor Mike Duggan and company executives announced today. The seven partners are AAM, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Chemical Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Flagstar Bank, Huntington Bank, and Penske Corporation. Each company’s $5 million contribution will fund physical improvements to Strategic Neighborhood Fund areas and affordable housing citywide. Every investment will be guided by residents’ input through engagement by the city’s neighborhoods and planning departments.

The $35 million commitment is the largest corporate donation to neighborhood development in Detroit history. It is expected to leverage another $70 million in private investment, for a total of $105 million of new investment that will bring physical improvements to neighborhoods in five ways:

  • Park improvements, including the creation of new parks and improvements to existing parks by adding amenities based on residents’ needs.
  • Commercial development to fill vacant storefronts and lots, with mixed-use and multifamily projects along commercial corridors.
  • Streetscape improvements, including street and sidewalk repaving and redesigns to create walkable, beautiful streets that are attractive to businesses and pedestrians alike.
  • Single-family home stabilization to renovate and preserve existing vacant houses, build density and create affordable housing in these neighborhoods.
  • Affordable housing development, to fight displacement where there is growth.

“Today, we are seeing a major shift within the corporate community toward investment to our neighborhoods, and residents can expect real, physical changes coming in the next few years,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “With the help of our partners and this record-breaking commitment, we are taking the strategy that worked in Midtown and scaling it citywide to bring more development to neighborhoods across our city.”

The City will drive these neighborhood developments based on the model of development in the first three Strategic Neighborhood Fund areas, Livernois/McNichols, Southwest/West Vernor and Islandview/Greater Villages. Improvements are already underway, including:

  • The new 2.5 acre Ella Fitzgerald Park in the Fitzgerald neighborhood of the Livernois/McNichols area
  • The Coe development in Islandview/Greater Villages, where 12 new units of housing were built on a vacant lot, including 30 percent affordable housing
  • New and improved lighting and planned improvements to Clark Park in Southwest Detroit.

With this commitment from the corporate community, the Strategic Neighborhood Fund will expand this work from three areas to ten and implement the new Affordable Housing Leverage Fund to fight displacement as the neighborhoods grow.

Over the next five years, these types of improvements will be coming to the next seven SNF areas:

  • Grand River Northwest
  • Jefferson Chalmers
  • Russell Woods/Nardin Park
  • Campau/Banglatown
  • Warrendale/Cody-Rouge
  • Gratiot/7-Mile
  • East Warren/Cadieux

With the record commitments from the seven corporate partners, the investment is expected to help leverage additional public dollars in neighborhoods.

Each of the ten areas are made up of clusters of neighborhoods, and the effort will ultimately bring development to more than 70 individual neighborhoods across the city. Affordable housing investments will be made citywide.

Coalition of supporters driving investment in neighborhoods

The coalition of partners came together over the last year, in an effort led by Mayor Duggan and Chairman of Chemical Financial Corporation Gary Torgow, as well as Huntington Bank CEO Steve Steinour, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan CEO Dan Loepp.

Torgow, Steinour and Loepp all met with a number of other corporate leaders to share the city’s vision for neighborhoods and recruit the seven partners announced today.

“It is an honor to be involved in this vital commitment to the neighborhoods that make up our great city,” said Torgow. “The fine organizations in this coalition recognize the importance of stepping up and playing a part in the revitalization of these critical areas of the city. It is this kind of creative collaboration that brings about great opportunity and change.”

The seven corporate partners join a growing list of philanthropic organizations that have committed to inclusive neighborhood development, and highlights the importance of partnerships between the public, private and philanthropic communities to the revitalization of neighborhoods. Following an initial $15 million contribution from the Kresge Foundation, additional foundations and organizations have made significant contributions to the expansion of the Strategic Neighborhood Fund.

Funds guided by community engagement The success of the funds will rely on extensive community engagement around the projects, and the city will work with residents in all areas to ensure development is inclusive and meets the needs of the neighborhood.

The planning process so far has engaged thousands of residents in hundreds of meetings across the city. In the Islandview Greater Villages area for example, city planners met with over 1500 residents during more than 25 public meetings to develop the plan for that neighborhood. The scope of work includes building on past planning and implementation work of local neighborhood organizations and to build on to that with a cohesive plan with the community.

“We’ve been working closely with the community in every neighborhood to encourage and empower the residents to stay and be a part of this city’s comeback,” said Maurice Cox, director of planning and development. “The people of Detroit who have stayed through the good times and the bad must continue to be at the forefront of this effort. We want to make sure that Detroit’s recovery includes them, because they are Detroit’s future.”

Residents can get involved in neighborhood planning by visiting http://detroitmi.gov/PDD or by contacting their district manager directly.

About the Strategic Neighborhood Fund: A $130 million neighborhood investment strategy SNF invests in improving parks, streetscape improvements, commercial corridors and single family housing, guided by residents’ input through the city’s planning processes. The fund was piloted with a $42 million investment in the three initial neighborhood areas, Livernois/McNichols, Southwest/West Vernor and Islandview/Greater Villages. Now, the fund has expanded to $130 million in seven more areas, touching dozens of individual neighborhoods across the city.

This comprehensive investment strategy will build up communities by investing in assets that are crucial to growing neighborhoods. The categories of investment will work hand in hand to build upon the existing strengths of neighborhoods, aligning all resources available to drive a significant and holistic neighborhood revitalization in each area.

About the $250 Million Affordable Housing Leverage Fund

While SNF will work to build vibrant and growing neighborhoods across the city, the city’s $250 million Affordable Housing Leverage Fund will invest in preserving 10,000 affordable units and creating 2,000 more. The city will work to ensure residents can find quality, affordable wherever there is growth, neighborhood redevelopment includes space for people of all incomes and backgrounds.

“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 Donald Rencher, 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.”

 

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