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House in the Fitzgerald neighborhood of Detroit. Daily Detroit photo.

Foundations are getting are continuing to be a financial catalyst in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

The latest announcement comes today that Mayor Mike Duggan will be traveling to Philadelphia to receive a grant of at least $4 million (that the city has matched for a total $8 million) that will be targeted to the Fitzgerald Neighborhood in northwest Detroit, roughly between Marygrove College and U of D Mercy.

The funding is through a national initiative called “Reimagining the Civic Commons.” it aims:

“..to counter the trends of economic and social fragmentation in cities and disinvestment in the public realm. By revitalizing and connecting public spaces, the initiative intends to be the first comprehensive demonstration of how a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can yield increased and more equitably shared prosperity for cities and neighborhoods.”

The program is a partnership among four national foundations – The Kresge Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and The JPB Foundation, as well as local officials in each city that gets funds.

Other cities to be selected for this funding include Chicago, Akron and Memphis.

This is part of a greater push to create 20 minute neighborhoods in the city, a reversal of the car-driven culture that Motor City is known for helping create. The goal woudl be to invest in targeted places to better link residents to key assets, such as housing, retail, recreation, transit lines and educational centers, so they are all accessible within a 20-minute walk or bike ride.

This ties with the recent announcement that first area of focus for the 20 minute initiative is – you guessed it – the Livernois-McNichols area, particularly the Fitzgerald neighborhood, which is receiving this grant money.

“Through the Civic Commons initiative, we hope to rekindle the sense of pride current residents should have living in a neighborhood adjacent to such wonderful institutions of higher learning, said Maurice D. Cox, Director of Planning and Development for the city of Detroit in a press statement.

“Vacant lots turned into a park and greenway connecting Marygrove College and U of D Mercy complement our effort to rehab and reoccupy 100 vacant homes in the neighborhood, and help strengthen the entire fabric of the community,” Cox added.

The $4 million grant will contribute to the creation of a $30 million “Strategic Neighborhood Fund” that the City is raising with Invest Detroit to cover revitalization work in three neighborhoods, Livernois/McNichols, the West Village and Southwest Detroit.