Live District 5
By Adam Hollier
Detroit is only as strong as its neighborhoods. For Detroit to be successful, we must do three things: retain our current residents and businesses, recruit new residents and businesses, and foster a spirit of innovation.
We have to invest in our neighborhoods and focus on providing residents with the support they need to thrive in the communities in which they live. However, for the city of Detroit to grow, we must also open our arms and bring in new residents and businesses to support the growth and development of our neighborhoods. To keep our current residents and attract new ones, we must try bold maneuvers like urban agriculture, transit-oriented development and new homeownership models.
Lifelong Detroiters are the backbone of the city and its neighborhoods. People, like my grandmother, who lives on North Clarendon on the west side, or my neighbor who was the first Black man to own a home on Arden Park over 50 years ago, have kept the city of Detroit alive. We do them a disservice when we cannot provide universal public services like police, fire, EMS and a responsive city government.
Physical neighborhood investment must be the highest priority by continuing to eliminate blight in all communities, be they targeted for new development or not.
As a City Councilman, I will work to develop more opportunities for property ownership by our current residents. We cannot wait until values price us out of the market to buy houses. Once we own homes, we have to work with our neighbors and the non-profit community to reestablish strong block clubs, making Detroiters feel appreciated and connected to each other, regardless of the size of their home. Investments in retention will lead to better service delivery and greater public safety, making our neighborhoods more appealing.
Three years ago, my wife and I, before we married, considered where we’d live. We both wanted to raise a family in Detroit. I was born and raised in the same area I now live, the new 5th District. I was educated in Detroit public schools, starting at the Foreign Language Immersion Cultural Studies School (FLICS) and graduating from Renaissance High School.
To make our dream a reality, we bought an abandoned house, the eyesore of the neighborhood, and decided that house was going to be our home. We have been renovating it ever since and our personal investment could be an example for other young families to do the same here in Detroit. We made the choice of staying here because our neighborhood nurtured and protected us. Once I moved onto my block, I ran off prostitutes from the corner because I felt it was my responsibility as a man in my neighborhood to do so.
Other young families are asking the same question my wife and I asked, “Where are we going to live and build a life?”
Let’s make recruiting young families into the neighborhoods where there are challenges a priority and empower them to own its development. For too long, recruitment strategies for residents have started and ended with some of our strongest neighborhoods like Boston Edison and Indian Village; now it’s time to leverage those successes into their neighboring communities, like the North End and the near east side. The potential for neighborhood growth is limitless when we infuse new residents into communities and create opportunities for new ideas. When we work with neighborhood organizations, community development groups and the business community, we can adapt the Midtown and Downtown recruitment success individually across the city, but only if we are willing to embrace bold, innovative strategies.
We are aware of programs like Live Midtown; let’s make a “Live Detroit.” The Live Baltimore initiative is a tremendous example of a program designed to recruit and retain residents city-wide. As a City Councilman, I will work to create a Live Detroit initiative that gives residents and potential residents one-stop shopping for our neighborhoods and tremendous opportunities to invest in our community. There are many incentives to live in our neighborhoods that people are unaware of; I will better broadcast those incentives to attract more residents to our city. I believe if people are fully aware of the benefits of living in Detroit, we can make the economic case that living in the City of Detroit is valuable, affordable and exciting. For more information about these opportunities and ways to get involved with building Detroit, visit my website, www.voteadamhollier.com.
Adam Hollier is a City Council candidate for District 5.