Mayor holds Dexter Streetscape community meeting; residents cast vote for their preferred Streetscape option
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan greeted more than 100 residents from districts 2, 5 and 7 to share and hold a final vote on the rendering that would become their Dexter Streetscape project. The in-person community meeting was held Monday, November 28 at the newly opened Union Contractors and Millwrights Skilled Training Center in Detroit.
“The City of Detroit Department of Public Works (DPW) is looking to make Dexter Avenue safer for all street users and to support economic activity along the corridor between Davison and Webb,” said DPW Director Ron Brundidge. “These improvements will include lighting, sidewalk improvements, traffic signal upgrades, protected bikeways, landscaping, site furnishings, signs, pavement markings, and utility adjustments.”
After discussion and public comment, residents voted on four options with options two and three getting the highest votes. More public comment was held, and a final vote proved option three the winner. The total estimated construction cost is $10 million. DPW anticipates construction to begin in 2023. Dexter Avenue is the 8th commercial corridor that will be rebuilt by the City of Detroit and decided on by residents.
“We have seen how investing in new streetscapes can change the trajectory of a neighborhood commercial corridor,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Since we completed beautiful new streetscapes along Livernois, Grand River, Kercheval, McNichols and others, they have become magnets for small businesses.”
The community engagement plan for the Dexter Avenue streetscape project builds off the effort started in 2018 and led by the Planning & Development Department. Between 2018 and 2019, PDD held over a dozen neighborhood meetings to better understand the priorities of residents and businesses owners. DPW and its partners held an additional eight community meetings as part of the design process to ensure that neighbors have meaningful opportunities to shape the streetscape project. At the Nov. 28 meeting, participants reached a key milestone by selecting the number of lanes and types of improvements that neighbors would like to see most. Future meetings will allow residents to provide feedback on design details and stay up to date with the plan for construction in spring and summer 2023.
“Monday night, residents who live near Dexter Avenue had a voice in how their streetscape will look. This is how neighborhood planning works best," Mayor Duggan added.
The Dexter streetscape is the latest milestone in the Strategic Neighborhood Fund initiative, which focuses on improving the quality of life for residents through better parks, commercial corridors and neighborhood stabilization.
The Strategic Neighborhood Fund was launched in 2014 in three neighborhoods, which was expanded to 10 in 2018, including Russell Woods-Nardin Park. The SNF is a $150 million private-public partnership between the City of Detroit and the nonprofit Invest Detroit that is funded by six corporate funders and several philanthropic organizations to invest in housing stabilization, improving parks, commercial corridors, streetscapes, and equitable opportunities for local business owners of color.
The City of Detroit’s Planning & Development Department led community engagement meetings in 2018 to gather community feedback from Russell Woods-Nardin Park residents on the improvements they wanted in their neighborhood. Residents said they wanted more beautiful open spaces and a park that encouraged active play, so the City’s Parks & Recreation Department did an $850,000 upgrade to Zussman Park, including a walking loop, new playground, state-of-the-art outdoor fitness zone, new picnic area with shelters and outdoor grills, six-hoop basketball court, newly planted trees, and public art.
Among the other key initiatives in the Russell Woods-Nardin Park SNF plan:
- The corner of Dexter and Tyler will see a new retail pop-up space for neighborhood entrepreneurs next year. Construction is under way on the once vacant large tract of land, where small businesses will be able to set up shop, and the focus will be on promoting entrepreneurs from the neighborhood.
- The City of Detroit’s General Services Department also made improvements to Russell Woods Park, at Fullerton and Broadstreet avenues, including adding a new pavilion that will host the park’s annual jazz festival.
- The General Services Department has also invested $250,000 in upgrades at Nardin Park.
- Neighborhood stabilization in Nardin Park is one of the plan’s top priorities, and Proposal N funds will demolish or stabilize some 400 homes in Nardin Park. Demolition on vacant properties that cannot be saved has begun, including the demolition this week of a long-abandoned apartment building on the park that has been an eyesore for years. By removing blight, property values will increase, and the safety and appearance of the neighborhood will be improved.
“We have seen how commercial corridor investments do better where the City has invested in infrastructure that gets the community engaged and active in their neighborhood,” said Antoine Bryant, director of the Planning & Development Department. “By having the community involved and engaged in determining where those areas of investment should be, it sets up the SNF neighborhood plans for success and support from residents. We are already seeing more residents moving into this great historic neighborhood, and the streetscape on Dexter will bring more small businesses to serve them and further improve this already strong community.”
DPW strives for cleanliness, safety, and efficiency. DPW provides solid waste collection activities, facilitates the clearing of illegally dumped debris, provides construction and maintenance for city streets and sidewalks, snow and ice removal as well as maintains systems and devices for safe traffic flow.