City seeks consultant for planning effort in Warrendale-Cody Rouge neighborhood

City seeks consultant for planning effort in Warrendale-Cody Rouge neighborhood
April 10, 2018 Michigan Chronicle

The City of Detroit is seeking planning and design consultants to create a child-centric development framework plan for the Warrendale-Cody Rouge neighborhood that will explore options to improve opportunity for families in the area. The request for qualifications follows Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City address, where he outlined his objective to put children first in Detroit’s recovery.

The goal of the planning effort is to create a strategy to promote new development, improve the environment for children and provide new workforce development opportunities. The consultants, contracted through city partner Invest Detroit, will work with four private partners to coordinate investment in the area on Detroit’s western edge, including; DTE Energy, General Motors, Quicken Loans and the Skillman Foundation.

The Warrendale-Cody Rouge planning effort follows similar strategic planning efforts already underway in several neighborhoods including Southwest, The Villages/Islandview and Grand River/Northwest neighborhoods. Plans already are being implemented in Livernois-McNichols (including the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project) and East Riverfront. It is the second planning effort in District 7 following the Russell Woods effort announced last year.

“As we continue to expand our planning efforts in neighborhoods across the city, we need to ensure that there is opportunity for all Detroiters, especially our children,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Our planning in the Warrendale-Cody Rouge area will engage with long-time residents to identify ways to improve the neighborhood for the kids.”

Each study will coordinate planning with existing community groups to identify the key issues and come up with innovative, yet realistic, solutions that the city can implement. Strong community engagement in each neighborhood study will produce community-driven framework plans for the areas

Planning for our children’s future

This planning effort will be the first to focus specifically on building environments that can positively influence child development. Consultants will be asked to look at ways to improve mobility, housing, education and health and safety. Designs and plans will outline ways to create new neighborhood spaces for children like parks and playgrounds, and connect the neighborhood to these areas. Housing solutions, including the removal of blighted homes and preservation of affordable housing will also be key to creating a stable environment for the area youth. Consultants will be asked to look at ways to design a neighborhood that compliments various stages of a child’s life, especially around schools, including Cody High School. All of these plans will include suggestions on how to improve the health and safety of the children in the neighborhood, and could include plans to build safer routes to schools and gathering spaces.

“We are going to work closely with the community in this neighborhood to encourage and empower the residents to remain by creating a better environment for the children,” said Maurice Cox, director of Planning and Development. “We want our children to stay, we want to make sure that Detroit’s recovery includes them, because they are Detroit’s future.”

Working with the private and philanthropic sector

The consultants will join an established group of private partners already working in the neighborhood on a number of initiatives. DTE Energy, General Motors, Quicken Loans and the Skillman Foundation have partnered with the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, the local neighborhood organization, to implement redevelopment strategies to improve the lives of children and families within the neighborhood.

The Cody Rouge corporate and philanthropic partners stated, “In support of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance and the vision set by residents for their future of their neighborhood, we continue to work in partnership to accelerate community improvements. We are excited about the possibilities framed in this RFQ and the opportunities it has for the children and families of Cody Rouge.”

Each partner has an established commitment to the neighborhood. Below represents examples of the types of projects to support children and families that each has completed prior to and while working within the collective framework. This is not an exhaustive list of all the work done by the partners.”

• DTE Energy provides low-income families with energy assistance and piloted a workforce development program for the youth in the area.

• General Motors engages with a wide array of community partners to make sustainable improvements at area schools and neighborhoods as well as improve the quality of life for residents

• Quicken Loans invests in infrastructure and students by installing affordable high-speed internet in community gathering spaces and expanding mentorship programs at Cody High School.

• The Skillman Foundation works with Cody High School to provide financial empowerment services to students and the surrounding neighborhood and supports Linked Learning, which connects high school students to STEM-focused career pathways.

The consultant will work with all four partners and the community to continue these efforts and build them into the framework development strategy.

Timeline

The request for qualifications was released on April 6 and the consultant will be chosen in early May. Planning is expected to begin by late May and the neighborhood framework strategy is expected to be complete by February 2019.

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