Kids are indeed Detroit’s future so creating neighborhoods that encourage their growth and success is essential.
Warrendale-Cody Rouge area, which has the highest concentration of school-aged children in Detroit, has a plan to accomplish that. It is working with the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department and partners to create a strategy to improve the neighborhood, specifically for child development.
Reimagining the area is part of the City’s $130-million Strategic Neighborhood Fund and follows similar planning efforts already underway in several neighborhoods across the city. The Warrendale-Cody Rouge effort will be the first to focus specifically on child development. It will coordinate planning with community groups to identify the key issues and come up with solutions that the City will implement.
The framework will be developed with residents, a process that will last about nine months. Recommendations are expected by spring 2019, with implementation starting in summer 2019.
In other areas being recharged under the Strategic Neighborhood Fund, the City and consultants coordinated planning with community groups to create a community-driven framework plan. In Warrendale-Cody Rouge, an additional step was added and residents provided feedback on the short list of consultants who responded to the initial request for proposals.
Candidates made public presentations and residents had an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions at a community meeting. Following that meeting, the proposal selection committee, which included representatives from the City, Detroit Public Schools Community District, community leaders and two local high school students, chose Hector based on the presentations and resident comments.
Newark, N.J.-based Hector, an urban design, planning and civic arts studio, was contracted through City partner Invest Detroit. It will work with the community and build upon the existing philanthropic work of four partners – DTE Energy, General Motors, Quicken Loans and the Skillman Foundation – to coordinate investment in the area. The four partners, in collaboration with the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, are already working in the area.
“In the past, as our city declined, it was often efforts to support our children that were cut first,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “As we begin the process of rebuilding our neighborhoods, we want to make sure that we are putting the needs of our children first, so they can have access to the resources they need to be successful in their lives.”
The City and Hector will work with residents, and especially youth, to look at ways to improve mobility, housing, education, health, and safety and there will be new spaces for children such as parks and playgrounds. Housing solutions, including the removal of blighted homes and preservation of affordable housing, are also part of the strategy to create a stable environment for area youth.
The plan will also identify ways to design a neighborhood that compliments various stages of a child’s life, especially around schools, including Cody High School.
“From our work in Detroit and beyond, we know that putting young people in the leadership of neighborhood planning can change adult perspectives and help build organized communities today and into the future,” say Damon Rich and Jae Shin Hector, who lead Hector.
Photos from Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance