Building the Engine nurtures future neighborhood leaders

Building the Engine nurtures future neighborhood leaders

My community development path started, unbeknownst to me, at age 8 or 9. I spent a lot of time with my grandma who led a block club and sat on many organizational boards throughout Brooklyn. Because of all the time I spent with her, I also spent a significant amount of time in government officials’ offices […]

Pistons’ income could support Detroit neighborhood fund

Pistons’ income could support Detroit neighborhood fund

Over the last week, some have taken to the airwaves and social media attacking my character, my intelligence and most importantly my ability to represent the interests of District 5 residents. Most days, Monday through Sunday, I dedicate a minimum of 12 hours to studying materials, meeting with residents and business owners, assisting constituents and […]

Little Caesars Arena is a reminder of Detroit’s divide

Little Caesars Arena is a reminder of Detroit’s divide

Little Caesars Arena stands as a glowing symbol of Detroit’s economic resurgence. Admittedly, the Detroit tax-payer supported arena is fueling job creation and spin-off developments, but not for us in Detroit. Something’s clearly amiss when 90 percent of the hard hats in the arena and other publicly-funded construction sites are worn by Caucasians. It seems […]

Raw and Relevant: Real Change, Real Talk forum sparked honest emotions among Detroit leaders

Raw and Relevant: Real Change, Real Talk forum sparked honest emotions among Detroit leaders

There are a lot of ideas floating around about how to strengthen Detroit’s neighborhoods beyond downtown and Midtown. Now there’s a newly formed initiative committed to bringing all those ideas together and making them part of an integrated system that will move the neighborhood’s forward. Led by long-time community developer Maggie DeSantis, Building the Engine […]

Trash Detroit? There are treasures worth saving in our city

Trash Detroit? There are treasures worth saving in our city

As United Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) completes renovation of a historic community building, I hear a familiar question: “Wouldn’t it have been better to tear down the old structure and build a new one?” Those wondering about the reason for UNI’s current work on the original 1923 portion of the Lawndale Center, in Detroit’s Springwells area, […]

Putting Detroit Neighborhoods on the Map

Putting Detroit Neighborhoods on the Map

Driving down Woodward Avenue through downtown Detroit, the signs of major projects, completed or underway, are obvious. Construction of the QLINE is finished, and the streetcars are ferrying visitors and commuters from downtown to New Center. A few cranes are wrapping up work on the outside of the new Little Caesars Arena, while crews work […]

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