Residents Unite to Bring Back the Boulevard!

community-meetingResidents of Islandview Village are uniting to develop a plan to revitalize their community! At the initial meeting, a decision was made to expand the neighborhood boundaries to embrace residents on blocks that were not included in any neighborhood by name and connect the two East Grand Boulevard Historic Districts. The new boundaries are Gratiot (north), Jefferson (south), Maxwell (east) and Mt. Elliott (west). In an effort to organize and ensure the plan is inclusive, the residents established a goal to reach every block and a methodology to govern itself going forward:

Every block must have a block club
and/or block representative at the table.

The table will meet regularly at the neighborhood association level:
Charlevoix Village Association

A community development organization will facilitate and
convene resources for the community:
GenesisHOPE CDC

GenesisHOPE  has engaged Lawrence Tech University Design Center (LTU-DS), on behalf of community stakeholders, to co-facilitate the development of the community plan with a focus on East Grand Boulevard (EGB); the gateway to Belle Isle and the main corridor of Islandview Village in Detroit. In 1876, residents proposed a grand boulevard that would surround the settlement known as Detroit. The “Grand Boulevard” was to be lined with elegant trees and marvelous mansions, and in 1891 Mayor Hazen Pingree adopted the idea. The Grand Boulevard was completed by 1913 and was generally recognized as a major attraction of the city. The entire 12 miles was decorated with trees, shrubbery and flowerbeds, and was lined with beautiful homes and prosperous businesses. However, the appeal and decline of the historically rich east side district began around 1920 right up until now. Once again, it is residents that are taking the lead.  Reviving East Grand Boulevard as an attraction of the city is one of the projects included in the plan — Bring Back the Boulevard! 

Islandview Village has a rich history with as many as fifteen nationally recognized treasures, an industrial park and many long time residents that want to preserve and protect the heritage of their beloved community! According to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, “historic preservation has become a fundamental tool for strengthening American communities. It has proven to be an effective tool for a wide range of public goals including small business incubation, affordable housing, sustainable development, neighborhood stabilization, center city revitalization, job creation, promotion of the arts and culture, small town renewal, heritage tourism, economic development, and others.” The initial community surveying, research and data analysis reveals five key focus areas pivotal to the revitalization of the neighborhood, most of which can be addressed using historic preservation as a tool:

  • Economic Development
  • Housing Development
  • Landscape Development
  • Health & Wellness
  • Crime and Safety

The neighborhood is all a buzz about not only the opportunities to improve the quality of life for all, but the anticipation and speculation of the city’s newly announced plan to create a 20-minute neighborhood inclusive of Islandview Village. Residents are not only uniting and planning but, more importantly, they are preparing to engage in meaningful dialogue with city planners with the intent of articulating their vision for their neighborhood. Most are excited, and welcome the interest and investment in the neighborhood after many many years of disinvestment. It seems great minds do think alike based on the timing of these two initiatives focusing on preserving and revitalizing Islandview Village for the next generation!