Two $30,000 shots in the arm just beautified a Detroit neighborhood and restored a historic Theater

Maybe it's the nostalgic chime of an ice cream truck. The convivial atmosphere echoed by children's laughter. These sounds of delight are ubiquitous in a Detroit neighborhood between Gratiot Avenue and East Outer Drive.

"It's the most wonderful sound you can hear is children laugher, having a wonderful time," said Karen Knox, a neighborhood resident.

But it wasn't always that way. 

Before a park occupied the blighted lot on Glenfield, a vacant house sagged under years of neglect. Across from that lot sat more vacant buildings - symbols of danger and abandonment. Then a godsend of a grant materialized to the tune of $30,000.

"Oh believe me it really was. It really was," said Polly Jones, a member of the Eden Gardens Community Association. 

A park replaced the empty home, and with it kids returned to the setting. A hyper-local fairy tale come true, this story is happening all over the Detroit, albeit in tiny doses.

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As Detroit's downtown hums into upgrade mode, it's ancillary neighborhoods are tackling blight on their own terms. Grant money offered from private and public giants have provided a way out of blight for neighbors. 

For the Eden Gardens Community Association, their salvation came from the Detroit Regional Chamber and General Motors.

"We are so thankful to the Detroit regional chamber for giving us this grant," said Jones.

Jones' isn't the only beneficiary of DRC money, either. Thirteen miles down the I-94 corridor, a different sort of sound is echoing financial success. Playing out of a 1920's Wurlitzer organ is music that fills the halls of the Senate Theater.

"The front of the building was really the opposite of welcoming, so our marquee was coming down and had to be removed for safety concerns leaving this unsightly gap," said Lindsay Robillard, a supporter of the theater.

That wasn't all. The parking lot was a wreck, too. So when a $30,000 grant fell into the laps of the theater, its volunteers struck hard and true.

"This was the shot in the arm, the vote of confidence that our organization needed to know that we could go out and people wanted to see the theater succeed," Robillard said, "and we took the money and we did a fundraising campaign."

For a city with a budget in the billions, grants that only have five numbers past the decimal may not look like much. But for neighborhoods, small doses of money like these can prove to be the salvage a community needs.

"For a small organization like ours, a $30,000 grant can go a long way on a focused project that will bring people in and provide a service to the community," Robillard said. "And if you do that in a lot of little places all over, you can really build something much much bigger."