July 19, 2017
Anika Goss-Foster, Detroit Future City’s (DFC) executive director, walked the streets of Detroit with WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford to talk about the city’s history and DFC’s 50-year vision for the city’s future, which aims to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods for Detroiters, through jobs, stabilizing communities and transforming vacant land.
Detroit Future City looks forward to a future 100 years after the 1967 riots
By: Carolyn Clifford
July 18, 2017
In our Detroit 2020 story on the 1967 riots Looking Back to Look Forward we’re reaching into the future.
It’s taken 50 years to see so much progress in Downtown and Midtown, but now with the creation of Detroit Future City, the mission is to watch Motown progress even further.
Nearly a decade ago, the nonprofit Detroit Future City was created to strategically plan for the future and to bring about change.
When it comes to real change and progress in a city, time and patience can usually heal most wounds, even the ones brought about by the 1967 riots. That’s what you’ll find nestled on a unique street located in the old Pole Town neighborhood.
Beverlee Porada says, “Twenty-five years ago, this neighborhood was diverse. It’s still diverse now. Everybody just watches out for each other.”
Beverlee and Greg Porado call a couple of blocks on Farnsworth Street on the east side of Detroit the place that blight forgot, complete with an outdoor pizza oven. They’ve raised five kids and now their grandkids are coming along too.
Greg Porada says, “Right now, this block is starting to rebuild, but it’s a slow process.”
Greg was on this block when white flight and neglect after the riots basically turned his neighborhood into open fields.
Porada says, “I saw what happened on Shane Street and, once the businesses leave, they don’t come back.”
Even during the uprising, Greg and his buddies – both black and white – played baseball together and still do today as adults.
The viability of neighborhoods like their’s – where people used to work at nearby factories like the old Packard Plant and Dodge – is rare and people, even from other states, are finding value in these historic homes and believe they’re worth saving.
Greg Porada says, “This man bought this house for $500. He owns all three lots and he has heaven right there. He does all of the work himself.”
The rebirth of neighborhoods is just a part of the strategic mission of Detroit Future City. The non profit’s primary goal is to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods for Detroiters, through jobs, stabilizing communities and transforming vacant land.
Anika Goss-Foster says, “We think about how we got to the 1967 riots and the sort of undoing of Detroit’s neighborhoods. Detroit Future City was really designed as a framework for our future for the next 50 years.”