DETROIT (WJBK) - In an exclusive one-on-one with FOX 2, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan talked about a spike in development that has nothing to do with downtown, Corktown or Midtown.
"We had a vision here in the Fitzgerald neighborhood at McNichols and Livernois that you could renovate 100 vacant houses, that you could turn the lots into beautiful flowers and we wanted to start anchoring it with a park," he said.
It's the answer to the question so many have asked, "what about the neighborhoods?" That can be answered at one of the new parks off Prairie Street on the city's west side. The park, which had its name chosen by residents who live around it, used to be home to five abandoned houses.
"When we said, 'Let's take what worked Midtown, let's go out to McNichols and Livernois, let's go out to West Village, let's go to Vernor in Southwest Detroit, and we asked the philanthropic community for support to get us started and they came through with $42 million, which will bring in another $150 million in private investment and it's taken off," he said.
The money for this comes from the Strategic Neighborhood Fund 2.0. Over 5 years, 10 neighborhoods will see over $400 million in park rehabilitation and affordable housing. Neighbors are already excited about what's to come.
"Months ago it was just grass and it was never maintained and there was dumping on it. We had vacant houses here. So neighbors are really excited. We have young people that are excited that they'll have a place to go in the neighborhood," said District 2 manager Kim Tandy.
Renderings show commercials corridors through seven neighborhoods that will be getting some of the cash to make these improvements. The Kresge Foundation made a $15 million contribution to the fund.
For the people who have toughed it out:
"It was worth the wait, that we have not perhaps done justice to the residents of Detroit over the last decade and now we are going to get really serious about that. We have always understood they are the backbone of this community but they need resources. They need support," said Rip Rapson of the Kresge Foundation.
Duggan says he feels a lot of the people who stayed are glad they did so.
"We'll knock down the burned down houses, we'll save the houses that we can save and move people in. We will clean up the blight, we'll build parks," he said.