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Detroit Future City’s “Lots To Maintain” Fundraising Campaign

In October 2015, Detroit Future City (DFC) introduced the Field Guide to Working with Lots, a tool that offers step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources to transform vacant land into a variety of landscapes. This tool includes a workbook companion that walks users through the phases of engaging their community, assessing their lot, reviewing lot designs, and exploring various resources. One month after the Field Guide’s release, DFC initiated the Working with Lots mini-grant program, which helps accelerate the revitalization of vacant land in Detroit.
 
Today, DFC needs your help with maintaining the upkeep of these lots. Over the past two years, we have learned a great deal about the financial challenges community members face when maintaining their projects beyond sweat equity. To address these challenges, DFC is collaborating with crowdfunding organization, In Our Backyard (ioby), to raise resources for our “Lots to Maintain” program, which supports Detroit residents and community groups that have transformed vacant lots in their community using the Field Guide.  Since the Field Guide’s release, DFC has collaborated and provided technical assistance to 29 Detroit groups, and influenced the transformation of more than 35 vacant lots.
 
DFC needs your help to fulfill our goal of raising $10,000 to make sure these lots remain assets to their neighborhoods, and to improve stormwater management in the City of Detroit. You can make a tax-deductible donation today of $50, $100, or any amount you choose! 100 percent of all contributions will go directly toward funding the upkeep of revitalized open space in Detroit neighborhoods. In addition, DFC will match every donation received via the “Lots to Maintain” fundraising campaign.
 
To donate to the “Lots to Maintain” fundraising campaign, please click here or on the image above.

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DFC is Seeking Community Engagement Program Manager

Detroit Future City (DFC) is seeking a full-time AmeriCorps member to serve as a Community Engagement Program Manager. The member will be responsible for engaging new residents and further engaging existing volunteers in implementing best practices for vacant lot use. Ideally, the candidate will begin service on October 16, 2017 and serve a minimum of 1700 hours though the end of his/her 10-month term.

To apply, email your cover letter and resume to Shari Williams at swilliams@detroitfuturecity.com

Click here for more information about this position.

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Detroit Future City Seeks Community Liaison

The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is seeking a Community Liaison to coordinate events, distribute informational material, provide administrative support to staff, and engage community guests through DFC initiatives and office tours.

To apply, email your cover letter and resume to abulger@detroitfuturecity.com.
Deadline to Apply: August 11, 2017

Click here for the job description.

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Detroit Future City Seeks Stormwater Innovation Manager

The Detroit Future City Implementation Office is seeking a Stormwater Innovation Manager to serve as a technical advisor, working to advance vacant land transformation and the systems that support it at the neighborhood level across the city.

To apply, email your cover letter and resume to abulger@detroitfuturecity.com.
Deadline to Apply: August 16, 2017  

Click here for the job description.

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DFC Implementation Office is Seeking a Sustainable Landscapes Manager

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office, via Wayne State University’s Detroit Revitalization Fellows program, is seeking a Sustainable Landscapes Manager to help spur vacant land transformation across the city. Apply by the February 10th deadline. For the job description, click here.

Click here to apply!

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2017 Detroit Future City Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-Grant Winners Announced

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office has selected 10 Detroit-based community organizations that exemplify the ability to transform open space from vacant land into green infrastructure to receive a share of $65,000 in mini-grants to implement lot designs from the DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots.

Out of more than 30 applicants, 10 were selected to receive a share of $65,000 in mini-grants. A maximum of $5,000 of the mini-grant can be utilized toward lot design implementation; the remaining $1,500 must be dedicated toward the maintenance of the lot, programming, and educational material expenses.

The Working with Lots Mini-Grant program is in its second year and aims to accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit through offering grants to help implement affordable and actionable projects from the DFC Field Guide’s 34 lot designs.

The DFC Implementation Office developed the Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-Grant program to advance the application of the Field Guide by inviting Detroit community groups, residents, and businesses to implement land stewardship activities in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

The Field Guide to Working with Lots offers easy-to-use, step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources to transform vacant land into a variety of landscapes. The Field Guide to Working with Lots is available online at www.dfc-lots.com. A complimentary, printed workbook is available at the DFC Implementation Office. Both offer recommendations on how to assess your lot and choose the best landscape for your needs, wants, skill level and budget.

2017 Winners

Recipient: GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Ring Around the Garden”

Recipient: Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Friendly Fence”

Recipient: Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Forest Patcher”

Recipient: Southwest Detroit Business Association
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Front Parking Partner”

Recipient: Minock Park Block Association
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Ring Around the Garden”

Recipient: O’Hair Park Community Association
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “8 Mile Rain Garden”

Recipient: Popps Packing
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Ring Around the Garden,” “Organic Bowl”

Recipient: Wyoming-Kentucky-Indiana-Wisconsin-Ohio Block Club
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Four Seasons”

Recipient: Motor City Grounds Crew
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Urban Edge”

Recipient: Mecca Development Corporation
Proposed Field Guide Lot Design: “Dumping Preventer”

Click here to learn more about a few of the winners.

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2017 Field Guide Mini-Grant Winners

The DFC Implementation Office developed the Field Guide Mini-Grant program to encourage Detroit residents, community groups and businesses to utilize the Field Guide to Working with Lots to implement land stewardship activities in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

The DFC Field Guide to Working with Lots offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources that support Detroiters in transforming vacant land into cleaner, safer and more attractive neighborhoods. The tool is available online at www.dfc-lots.com. A complimentary, printed workbook is available at the DFC Implementation Office. Both offer recommendations on how to assess your lot and choose the best landscape for your needs, wants, skill level and budget.

The Field Guide Mini-Grant program funds a diverse range of lot designs across the city, including:

GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation, which is planning to implement the “Ring Around the Garden” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
GenesisHOPE is excited to use the mini-grant it was awarded to assist with the creation of an urban agricultural park that will include green stormwater infrastructure and shade for a parking lot that will be graded and repaved to slope toward a rain garden.

Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation, which is planning to implement the “Friendly Fence” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
The Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation will implement a lot design that will spawn a colorful rain garden while also implementing a practical stormwater solution. The lot design is part of the corporation’s plan to revitalize a 13-block stretch of Detroit’s East Side. It will sit adjacent to a 5,000-square-foot property called “The Commons” that will serve as a laundromat, a café and a gathering space for recreation activities, visual arts, storytelling and more.

Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block, which is planning to implement the “Forest Patcher” Field Guide design on the East Side of Detroit:
The Manistique Block Club 200-300 Block is planning to use their funds to implement a lot design that will allow it to beautify and improve the health of an existing woodland. The organization plans to complement its lot design with rain, herb and butterfly gardens, solar panels, a treehouse, wandering paths and wheelchair ramps.

Minock Park Block Association, which is planning to implement the “Ring Around the Garden” lot design on the West Side of Detroit:
The Minock Park Block Association is one of several community groups that is continuing efforts to ensure the greater Grandmont Rosedale area is a leader in vacant land transformation. The association will implement a lot design that is a great choice for anyone looking to increase green infrastructure in the city. Rain gardens capture, hold, and release stormwater gradually back into the soil. The garden will provide a habitat and food for a variety of birds and pollinators.

O’Hair Park Community Association, which is planning to implement the “8 Mile Rain Garden” on the West Side of Detroit:
The O’Hair Park Community Association, which includes roughly a dozen reactivated block clubs, plans to implement a lot design that is one of the best for stormwater management. This rain garden design also prevents standing water from forming. It is designed with plants commonly available at local shops and national chains, and will be complimented by a patio, benches, two raised flower beds and community compost bins. Retired City of Detroit forester, park manager and secondary science teacher Susan Stellar will help lead this design’s implementation. Stellar is a Master Gardener, Master Composter, and a founding member of Keep Growing Detroit.

Southwest Detroit Business Association, which is planning to implement the “Front Parking Partner” in southwest Detroit:
The Southwest Detroit Business Association plans to implement a parking lot design that mitigates flooding by creating paved parking that allows water to infiltrate the ground instead of running quickly off into the street and into Detroit’s sewerage system. SDBA believes this design’s implementation will help transform vacant space along commercial corridors into community assets through beautification and greening. DFC hopes SDBA’s design, which will be complimented by trees, flowers, and other greenery, will serve as a model for beautiful and beneficial parking lots citywide.

Click here to see the full list of winners.

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DFC Implementation Office Seeking Director of Community and Economic Development

The Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office is seeking a full-time staff member to serve as Director of Community and Economic Development. The Director of Community and Economic Development will  work closely with the Executive Director in executing the 5-year business plan and specific goals related to single family rental housing systems, commercial corridor systems, analysis and development models for obsolete industrial sites, and community planning.

Click here for more information about this position.

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Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-Grant FAQs

The following questions were asked by participants at the two Working with Lots Info Sessions. If you need further clarification, please reach out to jlewis@detroitfuturecity.com or attend the three upcoming info sessions

What Date Location Time
Office Hours #1 Friday November 4, 2016 Grand River Work Place 19120 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223 10:00am-1:00pm
Office Hours #2 Friday November 11, 2016 MASH Detroit 14711 Mack Ave., Suite B Detroit MI 48214 10:00am-1:00pm
Office Hours #3 Thursday November 17, 2016 DFC Implementation Office 2990 W. Grand Blvd., Suite #2 48215 5:00pm-8:00pm
APPLICATION DUE December 5, 2016 Submittable website, mail, or delivered to DFC Noon

Is the PowerPoint presentation from past informational sessions online?
Yes, the presentation is available online at: https://detroitfuturecity.com/tools/a-field-guide/

How many grants will be awarded this year?
Ten grants of up to $6,500 will be awarded this year. Up to $5,000 is dedicated to the lot design implementation and $1,500 is earmarked for the maintenance of the lot, programming, and educational materials expenses.

What should you do if the lot that you want to get permission to use has several owners?
You will be responsible for asking each owner to state in writing that you have permission to implement the lot design on that property.

Is there any coordination with Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) for decreased sewage costs?
We are currently working to see how we can align the Field Guide to Working with Lots with the guidelines for the Drainage Credits Program that is under development. However, there are currently several designs that would address stormwater management issues. The Field Guide would be a place to start if you are a church, business, resident or non-profit that are currently, or anticipate being assessed drainage fees. DFC can help connect you to DWSD with further questions.

Will decommissioned alleys present problems when attempting to determine the property lines for these vacant lots?
DFC and Keep Growing Detroit (KGD) will provide technical assistance to ensure that residents are working within the City’s zoning and regulatory guidelines.

If the focal point of your lot design isn’t based on the Field Guide designs, can you retool the design to fit the guidelines?
Yes, you can incorporate the Field Guide designs to complement something existing, different or original planned for your lot. Technical assistance can help you think how they work together within your space.

What if you have multiple lots and they will have a kid’s play scape on them, for example, how would you incorporate the Field Guide designs?
You would choose your lot design accordingly. For instance, you wouldn’t put a play scape in the middle of a wildflower field.  This can be discussed further during office hours with KGD.

If you have multiple lots, can you get a grant for each lot?
No, you would only be eligible for one grant, which you could use on multiple lots if it is appropriate for the design you choose and the budget allows.

What’s the best way to water your lot?
KGD will be doing trainings for grantees on how to water and maintain their lot designs. DFC is also working with KGD to address legal and safe water access options. As part of the trainings we will address these issues and discuss best practices for water conservation. Be mindful of your water situation as you are thinking about which lot design(s) to choose for the grant.
How can you be eligible for the grant if you don’t belong to a block club/association?
Talk to your District Manager about connecting with existing community groups in your area.  If your group doesn’t have an official status, you can provide documentation that shows you are an active group. Accepted documents include: a list of events, sign-in sheets, minutes, and a list of your board members.

Are there any permits required for this project?
Permitting is on a case-by-case basis. If you choose to crowd raise through ioby it’s possible that you could need a permit to implement that plan. Implementation of the Field Guide designs does not currently require a permit, but if any questions arise we will work through the technical assistance process to make sure the implementation is in alignment with City codes and policies.

What happens if you want to repurpose the lot after five years?
There are no rules regarding the exact longevity of the project, however, a preference will be given to projects that are intended to be long lasting or permanent.

What happens if you already have materials, and can your project be funded by other sources in addition to the DFC grant?
The application asks that you describe anything that is already in place (such as additional funding already secured, prep work completed, volunteers, and other elements) which helps demonstrate your group’s readiness. Additional funding can be utilized to make the scale of the lot design larger, or implement the overall vision of the lot.

Will the city continue to maintain the lots once we have acquired the lots or gotten permission to utilize them?
No, once you have purchased the lots or received permission to use them, you assume full responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the property.

If you own a group home, are you eligible to receive credits if you already have irrigation and storm water management systems in place?
DWSD would have to evaluate the systems and determine what credits would be allowed.

What does the $5000 for design implementation cover?  
Each design has a shopping list that breaks down necessary materials needed for a successful installation. Additional eligible costs include: rental costs for tools, hiring a contractor, stipends for volunteers or basic logistical materials for volunteer days (water, snacks, gloves, etc.)

Does the grant cover the cost for tree removal for example?
The grant does not cover large site preparation costs like the demolition of a structure or removal of trees. However, basic site preparation like soil testing, grass removal, or tools for cleaning up debris, would be permitted.

How much does it cost to purchase a lot for this project?
Contact Darryl Earl at DLBA, dearl@detroitlandbank.org,  to determine the availability and cost of the lot you wish to acquire.

At what point does the electorate get a chance to have a voice in the decision-making process with regards to land acquisition?
DLBA is just a holder of land and must follow directives from the City, while at the same time attempting to be fair and equitable.  For the purposes of the mini-grant, if you do not want to own the land, a leasing program that is currently under development could be an option. Please contact dearl@detroitlandbank.org, or attend office hours for more information.

Is the application available electronically?
Yes, you would go to the DFC website https://detroitfuturecity.com/tools/a-field-guide/ and there is a link to the online app via the online program called Submittable, or you can download the PDF and submit a hardcopy.

Can you save the application and return to it later in Submittable, the software that assists applicants with their submissions?
Yes. First, you create an account with Submittable and then save the document while editing and return to it anytime. You will only submit it once you have completed the application in its entirety. You can also upload your supporting files to Submittable and safely return to the application later.

Is the format on Submittable different from the hardcopy?
Yes, while the applications may look different (Submittable just includes the text, not the graphics) the content is the same.

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DFC Sponsors Neighborhoods Rising Summit To Offer Ideas, Tools, Actions To Transform Detroit

Every Detroit neighborhood must be livable, lovable and vibrant for our city to truly transform. Its future depends on it.

Our neighborhoods are looking for ways to:

  • Fight blight and crime
  • Set up strong block clubs
  • Find volunteers
  • Help youth find the right path
  • Find funding
  • Groom future leaders
  • Train for jobs

The 7th annual ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Rising Summit addresses these issues and more. It will be held Saturday, Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the downtown campus of Wayne County Community College District at 1001 W. Fort Street. A continental breakfast and lunch are included.

Sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, Detroit Future City and the DTE Energy Foundation, the summit is free. You can register at www.arisedetroit.org or call 313-921-1955.

“We hope the summit inspires more people to get involved in transforming our neighborhoods and making them the best they can be,” says Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit. “Our panelists are not just experts. They have all really rolled up their sleeves to make things happen in city neighborhoods and will have excellent advice and best practice strategies to share with residents.”

The summit will cover many hot topics including Proposals A and B, which residents will vote on in the upcoming election. Proposal A would require developers of projects costing $15 million or more with public subsidies of at least $300,000 to meet with community members and create a legally enforceable community benefits agreement.

Proposal B sets a different threshold. It would require those with projects worth at least $75 million that receive subsidies of $1 million or more to create community benefits agreements. If both pass, whichever proposal receives the most votes will be put into place.

Click here for the list and the times of each workshop being offered at the summit.