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Mayor Mike Duggan will be in Philadelphia later today where it will be announced that the City of Detroit has been awarded a $4-5 million grant to further its redevelopment efforts in the Fitzgerald neighborhood in northwest Detroit.  The City also has raised $4-5 million in local matching funds to bring to $8 million the amount it has to invest in the area.

Other cities to be selected for this funding include Chicago, Akron and Memphis.

Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national initiative that seeks to counter the trends of economic and social fragmentation in cities and disinvestment in the public realm. By revitalizing and connecting public spaces, the initiative intends to be the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can yield increased and more equitably shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.

The grant funding and local match is a critical element in advancing Mayor Mike Duggan’s recently announced 20-Minute Neighborhood initiative.  Similar to the Civic Commons approach, the Mayor has proposed investing in targeted communities to better link residents to key assets, such as housing, retail, recreation, transit lines and educational centers, so they are all accessible within a 20-minute walk or bike ride.  The Mayor recently announced that the first neighborhood the city will focus on is the Livernois-McNichols area, particularly the Fitzgerald neighborhood, which is the target of this major revitalization effort.

“Through the Civic Commons initiative, we hope to rekindle the sense of pride current residents should have living in a neighborhood adjacent to such wonderful institutions of higher learning, said Maurice D. Cox, Director of Planning and Development for the city of Detroit.

“Vacant lots turned into a park and greenway connecting Marygrove College and U of D Mercy complement our effort to rehab and reoccupy 100 vacant homes in the neighborhood, and help strengthen the entire fabric of the community,” Cox added.

The $4 million grant will contribute to the creation of a $30 million “Strategic Neighborhood Fund” that the City is raising with Invest Detroit to cover revitalization work in three neighborhoods: Livernois/McNichols, the West Village and Southwest Detroit.

Reimagining the Civic Commons is a partnership among four national foundations – The Kresge Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and The JPB Foundation, as well as Cox and other top city planning and economic development officials. Find out more about each city’s plan online at: http://www.civiccommons.us

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