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DETROIT-Three collaborative projects aimed at strengthening the quality of life in Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs have been awarded grant funding under a new regional program. Known as the Metro Detroit Regional Investment Initiative, the program supplied three grants as part of its three-year $40M Neighborhoods NOW campaign launched in February.

The grants, totaling a collective $500,000, went to the Fort/Visger Revitalization Initiative (Southwest Detroit, Ecorse, River Rouge and LincolnPark); the Detroit-Grosse Pointe Park Collaborative; and the Van Dyke-8 Mile Gateway (Detroit and Warren). The various groups will use the money to organize programs that seek to strengthen and revitalize business districts and provide a range of social services, such as low-cost health care, job training and other services.

“Our staff made site visits and examined each proposed plan for its feasibility, creativity and overall impact,” says Anika Goss-Foster, senior program director. “We then asked, ‘does this plan and its development projects leverage other funds, build on existing activity in the area and include resident participation in the creation of the project?’ The answer for the three grantees was a resounding yes.”

In the Fort/Visger Revitalization Initiative, the Lincoln Park Economic Development Council will work with other groups on business façade improvement, parks, Winding Waters Art School, public housing, senior living, Mt. Zion Community Center. The Warren Community Development Corp. is leading the Van Dyke-8 Mile Gateway project, which will be working on affordable housing issues, façade improvement and creating a business district association, among other projects. In the Detroit-Grosse Pointe Park Collaborative, the Jefferson East Business Association will lead its partners on facade improvement, streetscapes, cleaning and greening and minor home repair.

Goss-Foster said the program will support the various efforts by providing additional funds for low-interest loans, matching grants and other financing. The initial grants are also renewable for three years.

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