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Growing a REGIONAL VISION. History & Accomplishments. Fort Visger formed to address issues of common concern in SW Detroit, Ecorse, Lincoln Park and River Rouge Vacant homes and industrial sites, brownfields and abandoned businesses

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history accomplishments
History & Accomplishments
  • Fort Visger formed to address issues of common concern in SW Detroit, Ecorse, Lincoln Park and River Rouge
    • Vacant homes and industrial sites, brownfields and abandoned businesses
    • Unemployment, poverty, lack of access to services and resources
    • Area branded as undesirable
  • Early activities and accomplishments
    • Farmers’ Market
    • Concert Series
    • Cleaning and Greening
lincoln park farmers market 2010
Lincoln Park Farmers Market2010
  • Bridge Card Capacity added
  • $2500 from Home Depot Foundation
  • Re-Opening May 2011
2010 struggles and connections
2010Struggles and connections
  • Does Ft. Visger have a future?
    • Resources are thin
    • Fund development necessary
    • Community needs persist
    • Need for a regional vision
  • New connections
    • Green Recovery Project/Walter White Community Garden
    • Guidance Center/Wayne Metro
    • Promise Neighborhoods
previous plans
Previous Plans
  • River Rouge Greenways and Pathways Plan (2006), prepared by McKenna Associates
  • 48217 Neighborhood Strategy (2007), prepared by Detroit Collaborative Design Center
  • Downriver Delta Greenways Plan (2009), prepared by Hamilton Anderson, funded by Community Foundation of SE Michigan
  • Economic Development Plan for Fort-Visger Community Development Corporation (2009), prepared by Wayne State University Master of Urban Planning Capstone Class
    • Strategic Planning at the Regional Level
    • Food Systems and Social Inclusion
    • Greenways and Blueways,
a new vision the downriver delta
A new vision: The Downriver Delta
  • Wayne State University Capstone Class in 2009 Recommended CDC serve as a change agent rather than a service provider
  • Bring stakeholders together in projects that benefit the region as a whole
the larger landscape why think regionally
The larger landscape: why think regionally?
  • you are a region
  • similar needs and problems
  • shared assets of geography and environment
  • that’s where the resources are

Before that hub developed from farm lands into a city it passed through various stages of growth. When Michigan became the thirty-sixth state in 1837 River Rouge was sixty-two years away from being distinguished from its parent [Ecorse] township as an incorporated village.

A History of River Rouge, by France E. Manor, 1978

action area 1 a cohesive r egion

Action area 1A Cohesive Region

Multi-Community Master Plan

Smart growth and environmental sustainability


action area 1 a cohesive region
Action Area 1: A Cohesive Region
  • Engage representatives from all the communities with goal of establishing Multi-Community Master Plan and seeking outside resources to implement elements of that plan
  • Establish hub for regional vision and policy, use GIS mapping and work with public, private and non-profit stakeholders to advance projects that benefit residents of the region as a whole
  • Promote downtowns that are walkableand attractive through “place-making” and promotion of existing businesses, linking efforts of local EDAs and DDAs to promote cultural and environmental assets of Downriver Delta through both old and new media and cultural and recreational events.
collaborating communities are competitive communities

Start small, think big. 

  • Put a number of potential collaborative projects on the table and narrow down to the most immediately achievable.  This gives your group the confidence of early success and helps with credibility in the public and media.  For example, many very active and extensive models today began with joint purchasing-easy (comparatively) to put together, not politically charged, etc.
  • However, don't lose sight of larger, more complex goals.  And don't allow budget to sacrifice your goals:  what you can't do now, you may be able to do later under other conditions.
  • Whatever you do, agree to keep talking, no matter what!
    • A Brief Primer on Regional Collaboration
Collaborating Communities are Competitive Communities
the possibilities of place making dingell park in ecorse
The Possibilities of Place Making: Dingell Park in Ecorse

Dingell Park after Paver Project Completed 2008

action area 2 a connected region

Action Area 2A Connected Region

Greenways and blueways

Internal connectivity

External linkage

Nonmotorized empowerment

Downriver Linked Greenways

action area 2 a connected region1
Action Area 2: A Connected Region
  • Greenways: put all the previous plans on one map and move toward the larger goals of connecting the region to Detroit , Downriver and Rouge Gateway through completion of designated arteries and links such as Fort Street, Jefferson Avenue, and Pepper Road
  • Blueways: Partner with Friends of the Rouge, Detroit Rivers, Ecorse Creek and Rouge Gateway Project to link aquatic transportation and recreation possibilities regionally
  • Enhance access to non-motorized transportation through bicycle education and adoption programs, water craft and water sport training

The southeast Michigan 'Downriver Delta' communities of Detroit zip code 48217, Ecorse, River Rouge and Lincoln Park fall within the northeast corner of the Downriver Linked Greenways where the North-South Connector and the Rouge Gateway Greenway connect.

  • The North-South Connector is a primary trail route of the DLGI that will connect Lake Erie Metropark to the City of Detroit along the Detroit River.
  • As each community developed its own greenway plan, it became apparent that not all plans joined together at the city limits. To obtain a cohesive regional network, the communities collaborated to identify various gaps.


Detroit Collaboratiive Design Center 48217 Neighborhood Strategy

action area 3 a healthy r egion

Action area 3A Healthy Region

Creat Downriver Food Policy Council

Gardens, farms and markets

A regional food system approach

Photo from the News-Herald

Ecorse Community Garden

action area 3 a healthy region
Action Area 3: A Healthy Region
  • Create a Downriver Food Policy Council with the goal of achieving greater resilience and sustainability in access to affordable, healthy food, creating jobs related to food, and enhancing nutrition and impacting health outcomes
  • Establish local network of community gardens, farmers’ markets, schools, and training resourcesto connect to farmers in food shed region, develop markets for food products grown in local community, improve access to fresh, healthy food for area residents
what exactly is a food policy council fpc
What exactly is a Food Policy Council(FPC) ?
  • FPCs are a vehicle to bring together stakeholder groups to work on issues regarding food like access and food security.
  • FPCs promote coordination between different members in the food system
  • FPCs work towards building a healthier food system through promotion of local foods, improving access routes to stores with healthy options, and organizing community garden efforts
why do we need a fpc
Why do we need a FPC?
  • Currently there is no governmental entity devoted to food
  • The slack is picked up by other departments which may have competing interests
  • A Recent Community Assessment performed by Downriver Delta CDC and The Guidance Center found a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the target communities of River Rouge, Ecorse, Northern Lincoln Park, and 48217
  • Proposed gardens and markets would link underserved populations and local growers, creating a micro-network of food production and consumption
what we need now
What we need now
  • Your collaboration
  • Your commitment
  • Your active support

Promoting a Cohesive,

Connected, and

Healthy Region

Thank you for your attention

closing credits
Closing credits:
  • Downriver Delta Strategic Planning Committee
  • Paul Draus, Chair
  • Charles Cross
  • Steve Gay
  • Christina Hall
  • Deborah Hoffman
  • Karl Laub
  • Paul Krystyniak
  • Downriver Delta Board of Directors
  • Marion Bloye, President
  • Gina C. Wilson, Vice President
  • Josephine D. Smith, Secretary
  • Rev. Gerald Cardwell, Treasurer
  • Robert Frierson
  • Deborah Hoffman
  • Daryl Rush
  • Bob Bartok
  • Ninfa Cancel
  • Richard Casteels