The City of Detroit is embarking on a two-year-long project to revitalize hundreds of properties in its Fitzgerald neighborhood. With the announcement of a development team, led by developers Century Partners and The Platform, $4 million will be invested to rehabilitate 115 vacant homes, create a two-acre park, and landscape 192 vacant lots. The Fitzgerald Revitalization Project is expected to break ground later this spring, with a focus on the area around the intersection of Livernois and McNichols.

The 115 vacant homes being renovated will be transformed into a mix of rental and sale properties at the neighborhoods market rate. Twenty percent of the homes will also be affordable for households making 80% or less of the area’s median income. In total, the improvements will directly affect over 600 families already living in the area. The new two-acre park will anchor a greenway path that is being created through the entire neighborhood. The 192 vacant lots in the area will be cleared for community space and productive landscapes. Land will be set aside for urban farming and low-maintenance landscapes.

Residents will be given the opportunity to move from their current homes, by either buying or renting the newly renovated properties. The initiative aims to transfer all the publicly owned property in the neighborhood to community assets.

Vacant lot in the Fitzgerald neighborhood will be transformed in to civic space and productive landscapes over the next tow years. (City of Detroit)(City of Detroit)

Vacant lot in the Fitzgerald neighborhood will be transformed into civic space and productive landscapes over the next tow years. (City of Detroit)

“This project is about creating opportunity and working together to strengthen our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Duggan in a press release. “Whether you’re a renter or homeowner or someone who just wants to live in this neighborhood, there’s a place for you in Fitzgerald. This is the kind of work we’ll be doing in neighborhoods across the city.”

Construction on the central park and quarter-mile long greenway will begin in July. The park space will sit where 60 houses have already been demolished as part of the city’s regular demolition program. Once two more houses are demolished in mid-April, the site will be ready to be revitalized, with completion expected by the end of 2017.

When completed in 2019, the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project will have increased the density of the neighborhood without building a single structure, a feat which the city of Detroit hopes to repeat across the city.

The effort will be the initial model for the $30 million Strategic Neighborhood Fund, which is working to stabilize Detroit neighborhoods. To raise the needed funds, the city partnered with the Kresge Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the JPB Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation as part of the Reimagining the Civic Commons grant.

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