Detroit to revitalize Jefferson-Chalmers, Banglatown, Russell Woods neighborhoods

- The city of Detroit expanding its plans to eliminate blight and make neighborhoods more family friendly.

Alisha, Litifha Gray and Dr. Akter Ahmed are from three unique Detroit  neighborhoods with very real and similar challenges:  The Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood, Russell woods and "Bangla Town" neighborhoods are all on top of a list of which the city of Detroit is getting ready to improve. 
 
And there's a lot of work to be done. We begin in Jefferson-Chalmers where Litifha Gray, a mom of a 2-year-old with another baby on the way, needs the vacant and dilapidated house next door to be torn down.

"I don't want my baby to be playing over there, picking up things, no," Gray said. "I don't feel that it's appropriate."

Arthur Jemison, director of Housing and Revitalization with the city, says help is on the way. 

"Each neighborhood has its own character," he said. "And the character is going to come out in the improvements that are recommended by the plan."

The second neighborhood city officials say will be getting a makeover is "Bangla Town" getting its name from the predominant population of Bangladeshi immigrants.
 
"We need some landscaping too," said Dr. Akter Ahmed. "Because it looks very old, no improvement at all, no work has been done probably for many years. They need to look at it."

Then there's the Russell Woods neighborhood. Vacant homes popping up faster than  the spring grass that needs to be mowed.

"I would love to see my city come up," said Alisha. "To know that we can do this project, and it’s going to make everything beneficial for everyone. We need people here."

City officials say neighbors in these three neighborhoods don't have to look further than the Fitzgerald neighborhood. The city is pouring $4 million into it, rehabbing  more than 100 homes and building a park.

The park rehab there similar to the one in Jefferson Chalmers. 
 
"One of the reasons that we're in these neighborhoods is that they are places that had the first round of demolition and the lights coming on," Jemison said. "If there are still significant demos in that neighborhood to be done, that's the type of thing that comes out of that first community engagement I can assure you, Detroiters are very vocal. They come out and say listen, I am interested in this process, I want to make sure I understand the schedule when these houses are coming down."

That process will take six to nine months and work will begin early in 2018.
 


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