The project site is currently a vacant grass corner lot at the corner of Bagley and Saint Anne Streets in the heart of Southwest Detroit’s Mexicantown. On June 9th, Southwest Housing Solutions will be turning the western portion of this lot into a neighborhood sculpture garden, as part of Neighborhood Beautification Day, an annual neighborhood clean-up event sponsored by NeighborWorks America.
The project will be a partnership of neighborhood organizations (Southwest Solutions, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, Bridging Communities, Southwest Detroit Business Association, and others) local businesses, neighborhood residents and outside volunteers. With support from a new neighboring landscape design business, Detroit Farm and Garden, who designed a similar park in North Corktown, we will be creating a sculpture garden featuring the work of another neighborhood resident, Vito Valdez.
Hosting events in the sculpture garden and neighboring lawn will increase awareness of the new community space and encourage ownership of the site by area residents and businesses. The positive effects of activity at the sculpture garden will inspire neighbors and area businesses and organizations to support future placemaking efforts in the community, leading to increased public activity, improved public safety, and eventually, spurring development in the area.
To celebrate the opening of this new space and to engage residents in its long term care, we will be creating a year-round season of programming in the space. Activities will target a broad range of residents including families, young adults, young professionals, and older residents. Events will include musical performances, theatre activities, picnics, and yard games.
Possible events include a salsa tasting featuring produce raised by the Matrix Theatre group’s youth camps and salsa dancing; a neighborhood picnic accompanied by live music from local musicians with local restaurants creating special picnic packages for pick up at the park; a tournament of yard games such as cornhole and horseshoes; yoga classes; educational workshops; a fall back-to-school event with pumpkin carving and hay rides; and winter craft fair with s’mores and hot chocolate. Working with the neighboring Theatre, we will host events following their outdoor youth theatre performances with music, ice cream trucks, and other activities to bring audiences to their shows, and create a welcoming experience for the public.