The Platform celebrated the opening of the Obama Building, a historic bank building in the Old Redford neighborhood, Nov. 12. The $3.6-million renovation of the building at Grand River Avenue and Lahser Road will bring four affordable, loft apartments and 8,800 square feet of retail space to the corner and serve as a new gateway for the neighborhood’s main commercial corridor.
The Obama is the first Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF) development to open in the neighborhood since Mayor Mike Duggan’s December 2018 announcement that the fund was being expanded and would include the neighborhood.
The public was engaged from the project’s inception, and the neighborhood advisory council weighed in on which types of businesses should go into the Obama. Old Redford residents will see additional SNF investments, including the Old Redford Link, improvements to Rogell Park and more. Flagstar Bank represents the SNF funding community in Old Redford.
The Strategic Neighborhood Fund initiative is a public-private partnership administered by Invest Detroit that raises funds from philanthropic partners and then invests that money into 10 neighborhoods spread across the city, including Old Redford. So far, the fund has raised just shy of its $59-million goal and has invested in everything from streetscape and park improvements to new construction and rehab projects.
For more information on the Obama Building, visit: www.obamabuilding.city.
The Obama Building was named after a painting by Detroit artist Chazz Miller of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama dancing. Peter Cummings, CEO of The Platform, and Mayor Mike Duggan stand in front of the painting that hung on the abandoned bank building for years, was restored and now displayed in the renovated structure.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) inspected and cleaned its 30,000th catch basin on the 3000 block of Margareta this week, as part of the comprehensive catch basin program. In 2017, DWSD purchased eight new sewer cleaning trucks, called Vactors, to have a fleet of 12 trucks, most of the initial $3.9-million investment. Since that time, catch basin cleaning has helped to reduce street flooding complaints by 70 percent and improved effectiveness of the combined sewer system, which collects both untreated sewage and storm water in the same pipe.
The DWSD catch basin inspection and cleaning program is part of the sewer system preventative maintenance after years of neglect. When launched, the goal was to clean 10,000 catch basins per year, on average, with the 30,000 mark achieved this year.
Detroit has an estimated 95,000 catch basins according to DWSD records. This does not include the catch basins on county-owned and state-owned roadways and freeways.
Detroiters who see street flooding can submit the information through the Improve Detroit mobile app by choosing clogged basin or street flooding or by calling (313) 267-8000.
Gayanga Co., a Black-owned construction engineering firm, announced plans this week to construct a new trade school and company headquarters in the Hope Village neighborhood on Detroit’s northwest side.
The firm purchased four parcels of land and will construct a training facility at 14584 Livernois, starting next spring. In coordination with the local skilled trades unions, the company has developed programs to prepare students for an apprentice position with the Laborers International Union of North America, Local No. 1191, and the Operating Engineers, Local No. 324 Union.
The company will build its 13,000-square-foot headquarters at 14400 Wildemere, and the facility will be the future home to a full-service auto mechanic training facility and garage.
The company is using its own funding and grants to complete the $6-million project. Gayanga was awarded $1.47 million in Department of Energy grants specific to training minorities in the area of skilled trades.
Residents have until Nov. 16 to complete budget survey