Hey all, Jer here.

The rain is here outside the Daily Detroit studio, so I thought I'd take a minute to write a note and catch you up on some stories around town — as well as a conversation that people seemed to like.

The Renaissance Center has been a focus of a lot of speculation now that General Motors is moving down the street to Hudson's Detroit on Woodward, taking two floors of the office tower.

Dan Gilbert's Bedrock and the automaker are going to work for the next year to figure out what's next for the sprawling RenCen. But I thought it important to talk about the past, present and possible futures of the RenCen with an interesting person who's been around a lot of projects in cities before.

See, the RenCen has had a number of eras. At one point, it had a fountain pool where the cars are now on the bottom level, with large greenery going up the wall. It had luxury stores when it opened. Many people who listen to our podcast or read this newsletter didn't exist when it was built - or are old enough to have kids of their own.

I had a great conversation with Mark Nickita of ArchiveDS on the RenCen on our Daily Detroit podcast. Ideas for making it residential. How to connect it to the rest of Detroit. The fact there was originally residential planned as part of the complex. And much more. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

On Apple Podcasts - Listen on our website

📰 What to know

>> Detroit is getting national attention for our large decrease in gun violence, contributing to a national trend of declining homicide rates in US cities. This success is due to a multi-faceted approach involving changes in policing, community outreach, and violence interruption initiatives.

Detroit's Police Chief, James White, has been emphasizing the role of understanding and addressing the mental health needs of the community. The city also implemented a Crisis Intervention Team, pairing police officers with behavioral health specialists.

While challenges remain, Detroit's example provides insights for other cities looking to reduce violent crime. [Vox]

New rule: Next person who sends me something stupid and uninformed about how "all our cities are terrible" gets voted off the island. I'm too tired for your foolishness, save it for your conspiracy theory Facebook groups.

>> Wayne County Executive Warren Evans revealed plans for a November ballot initiative that could extend public transit to every municipality in Wayne County. Currently, 17 municipalities have opted out of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) system, including larger suburbs like Livonia and Canton Township. The floated proposal would eliminate the opt-out choice, potentially connecting all communities to the regional transit system similar to what was recently passed in Oakland County. [Detroit News]

We discussed this on a recent episode of the podcast and put the idea out there that we should think even bigger when it comes to transit funding, as if we're gonna do it - let's do it right. [Daily Detroit]

Photo via the Gilbert Family Foundation

>> The Gilbert Family Foundation has announced a $15 million grant to support the City of Detroit’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF). The SNF is a collaboration between the City of Detroit and Invest Detroit and targets 10 neighborhoods across the city for improvements to increase residents' quality of life and economic opportunities.

The 10 Detroit neighborhoods are:

  • Jefferson Chalmers
  • Warrendale/Cody-Rouge
  • Campau//Davison/Banglatown
  • East Warren/Cadieux
  • Northwest Grand River
  • Gratiot/7 Mile
  • Russell Woods/Nardin Park
  • Islandview/Greater Villages
  • Southwest/Vernor 
  • Livernois-McNichols

This grant is part of the Gilbert Family Foundation's 10-year, $500 million commitment, shared with Rocket Community Fund, to help create opportunity in Detroit neighborhoods. This money will go to projects like streetscapes, commercial corridors, and parks, while also aiming to reduce displacement and improve the quality of life for current residents.

Best Choice Roofing of Detroit offers expert roofing for homes and businesses in Metro Detroit! This includes roof replacement, roof repair, roof tarp installation, roof inspections and gutter cleaning.

Support those who support us.

>> The Highland Park Fire Department in Michigan is fully staffed for the first time since 1984. Despite difficulties such as operating out of a warehouse and using old equipment, the department serving the enclave of nearly 12,000 people is making progress. [Detroit Free Press]

>> RunDetroit, an athletic-focused shoe store, is moving from West Canfield in Detroit's Midtown to Eastern Market. This will double their space, more bathrooms for their running groups, dedicated parking and a location near the popular Dequindre Cut. It'll be open in June. [Run Detroit]

Rendering: McIntosh Poris Associates via the City of Detroit

>> Work has begun on the $142 million project to convert the long-abandoned Fisher Body No. 21 plant in Detroit into apartments and commercial space. The project, led by developers Richard Hosey and Gregory Jackson, is now in the clean-up and abatement stage. Full construction is expected to start in September. The completed Fisher 21 Lofts will have 433 apartments, 29,400 square feet of retail, and 16,100 square feet of co-working space. The plant was built in 1919. [Crain's Detroit]

>> The first new Great Lakes Freighter since 1981 is setting sail. Coming out of Cleveland, expect to see the Mark W. Barker get added to the ships you see on the Detroit River. The Interlake Steamship Company vessel is a bit shorter, but thicker, to more easily navigate the tight turns of the ports in the Great Lakes. It also will be able to handle different kinds of cargo, as coal demand is dropping. That's historically one of the biggest cargo hauls. The Mark W. Barker can hold 26,000 tons. [News 5 Cleveland]

📸: Jer Staes

>> The demolition of the HAP Building has begun, marking the first step in the Future of Health development led by Henry Ford Health, Michigan State University, the Detroit Pistons, and Tom Gores. The site will be home a 1.2 million-square-foot hospital tower and other facilities, including the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and a joint research facility by Henry Ford Health and Michigan State University. [Urbanize Detroit]

>> Detroit City FC upset Major League Soccer Squad Houston Dynamo in a late-night battle Tuesday. The match was won on a penalty kick by the backup goalkeeper, Carlos Saldaña. You can watch the highlights in the video above.

This will be the first time Le Rouge advance to the round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup. League play resumes this weekend against Phoenix. It's a home game, get tickets here. I'll be out there at Keyworth.

And that's it for today. Thanks so much to our members on Patreon who make this newsletter possible. Join them here.

Without community support, community projects can't keep going. Sponsors alone do not pay the bills here.

Remember to tune into the podcast tomorrow for my usual Friday conversation with Devon O'Reilly - we're going to talk about a new restaurant he got to try coming to town.

And don't miss out on Norris Howard talking about how he's now in his "uncle" phase going to the Jazz Fest.

Remember that you are somebody,


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