Detroit Future City Sets Priorities For 2014-2015, Opens New Office

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office together with its community partners introduced its priorities for 2014-2015, unveiled a new brand and website, highlighted some of the 31 active projects their involved with and announced some activities to connect with the broader community.

DFC Executive Director Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. today was joined by members from the organization’s 32-member steering committee and 11 implementation team members who presented at their new implementation office to residents, faith-based leaders, advocacy groups, economic development gurus, philanthropic organizations and business owners. The DFC Implementation Office is located at 2990 W. Grand Blvd.

“Working with our partners in the community over the last 10 months, we have been able to identify five key priorities from the DFC Strategic Framework that the DFC Implementation Office will direct its energy toward in 2014 and 2015,” said Cockrel. “The areas of focus we have selected are critical to the long-term viability of our city and must be addressed first.”

The DFC Implementation Office coordinates with stakeholders to inform decision-making, build capacity, and fulfill the objectives of the DFC Strategic Framework. Following a year of extensive research and collaboration after the release of the DFC Strategic Framework, the DFC Implementation Office set forth the following priorities and initiatives that are already in progress.

The 2014-2015 DFC Priorities and Initiatives are:

  • Economic Growth Priority: Employ More Detroiters by
    • Assessing the economic state of the city
    • Minority business development
    • Small business policy reform
    • Supporting entrepreneurship
  • Land Use Priority: Fulfill Regulatory Reform by
    • Supporting the update of the City’s Master Plan of Policies
    • Supporting the creation of employment districts
  • City Systems Priority: Renew Systems Strategically and Innovatively by
    • Offering guidance on strategic renewal programs for utilities
    • Supporting a review of capital budget practices by government
    • Transportation systems reform
    • Improving City of Detroit technological systems
  • Neighborhoods Priority: Stabilize Neighborhoods with
    • Blight elimination programs
    • Working with partners to increase public safety
    • Community-based placemaking
  • Land and Building Assets Priority: Transform Vacant Land into an Innovative Open Space Network by
    • Initiating an integrated open space plan
    • Creating green infrastructure programs

The DFC Implementation Office has 31 active projects in its portfolio of 50 that it is currently working on with partners from across Detroit. Each project is working to fulfill each of the five priorities.

Cockrel highlighted some projects that were worked on in 2013 such as the Hardest Hit Fund and the Partial Deconstruction Project. He also listed examples of projects the team will tend to in 2014 and 2015 to help fulfill each of the five priorities, they were:

  • Live-work Program: 1-96 Industrial Corridor,
  • Updating the Citywide Master Plan of Policies,
  • Carbon Buffers,
  • Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and
  • A Vacant Property Handbook

Cockrel went on to say that “civic engagement is an important component that is threaded throughout all of the work we do.” He punctuated his statement by inviting a student from Denby High School to the podium to discuss how the DFC Strategic Framework has been incorporated into their curriculum.

Before talking about the priorities and projects, Cockrel introduced the team along with the steering committee. He listed the DFC Implementation Office’s many achievements during its 10 short months since being formed, and also revealed the organization’s new logo, website, and marketing materials.

To help people connect with the Detroit Future City, Cockrel announced the DFC Implementation Office is going to partner with community groups and other stakeholders over the next several months to host open houses at its W. Grand Blvd. location and meetings in each of the seven Detroit City Council Districts. The first Open House will be Wednesday March 12, 2014 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the W. Grand Blvd office. A complete schedule for district meetings and open houses will soon be posted at www.DetroitFutureCity.com.

During Thursday’s event, well-respected local leaders expressed their support for DFC, including Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon, Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation president and CEO George W. Jackson, Jr., who also serves as chair of the DFC Implementation Office steering committee.

“We have seen many plans come and go in this city because they fall short when it comes to execution, but Detroit Future City has staying power,” said Jackson. “DFC will be making an impact on our city for a long time because the strategic framework’s innovative yet pragmatic concepts have been embraced and there is a talented Implementation Office that has quickly proven its an invaluable resource for businesses, non-profits, residents and government agencies. Detroit Future City is the starting point for advancing the transformation of Detroit.”

“In just a year’s time, we’ve seen the ideas embodied in the Detroit Future City Framework move from the aspirational to the achievable,” said Rapson, who last year pledged to align the foundation’s spending in Detroit with Detroit Future City, a pledge of $150 million over five years. “The framework’s soaring ambitions — created through the input of thousands of residents — are being embodied in concrete projects across the city, projects that bolster not only a thriving Woodward Corridor, but green, healthy, active neighborhoods throughout.”

Connect with the DFC Implementation Office by visiting 2990 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 2 Detroit, MI 48202, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. E-mail info@detroitfuturecity.com or call 313-259-4407. For ongoing updates, visit www.DetroitFutureCity.com, subscribe to the e-newsletter, or engage with through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest or YouTube.