The West Vernor & Springwells Business Improvement District (BID) proposes to develop a vacant, commercial lot at 2017 Springwells. The BID (Michigan’s first and one of only two in the State) is excited and grateful for the opportunity to make an investment that will protect property values, increase business, and contribute to a clean and safe environment for its customers and residents.
2017 is surrounded by a diverse group of businesses, including the legendary Family Treat, the United States Post Office, Vince’s Italian Restaurant, 2 Quinceranera stores, a tacqueria, a full service market, 2 hair salons, a doctor’s office, Sheila’s Bakery, Planet Rock Video and Music Store, among many others.
The business district is experiencing a wave of heavy investment. Entrepreneurs are rapidly purchasing properties, rehabbing interiors and facades, opening businesses, and creating jobs.
Unfortunately, 2017 Springwells is an eyesore and liability in an otherwise vibrant, clean, and safe business district. 2017 is overgrown with weeds and grass. It has become a popular location for illegal dumping, which is highly visible from the street. Abandoned and non-operational vehicles are a common site at 2017. Several property owners, including James Fenech, owner of Family Treat, and James Fakhoury, owner of Elegant Nails, have expressed serious concern regarding the condition of the property and its impact of their business.
The goal, in collaboration with other area agencies, businesses, and residents, is to transform one of the district’s worst liabilities into one of its greatest assets. The 2017 Project will become an attractive, safe, and programmed public space that promotes interaction, community pride, and resident engagement.
The visual improvement, as detailed in the attached rendering, will include 4 Serbian Spruce at the rear of the lot. Decorative fencing will be installed at the zero lot line to assist in making a seamless zero lot line along Springwells. Because the BID is a Traditional Mainstreet Overlay district with a Historic designation, it is important to consider the specific rules and regulations for planning and development. Volunteers will assist building 8 picnic tables and 2 (8 x 16 and 8 x 8) raised planters. The raised planter will be filled with annual bedding flowers, ornamental grass, switch grass, or feather reed grass. Volunteers will also assist spreading mulch, creating walking paths and seating areas, seeding the lawn.
The 2017 Springwells Project will have a traffic calming impact on Springwells, a street that frequently experiences hazardous speeding condition. The BID will work with the City of Detroit’s Traffic and Engineering Department to install a crosswalk, signage, bump-out, and other traffic calming features. Because 2017 is directly across Springwells from Family Treat, a favorite for neighborhood youth, it is imperative that proper safety measures are considered.
The BID, through a donation from the Urban Neighborhood Initiative’s (UNI) Southwest Bike Club, will install bike racks at 2017. The bike racks will promote non-motorize transportation and play a small role in helping to support the brand new Southwest Detroit bike lanes.
Through various forms of programming, the BID aims to encourage social interaction and community building. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national funder with a local office, recently committed $10 million to the Springwells Village neighborhood over the next 3-5 years. Through a serious of community engagement meetings, residents have consistently expressed a desire to create a stronger social network. 2017 has the potential to be an igniter of social interaction.
The most exciting aspect of the 2017 Project is that everyone has a stake in seeing the site developed. Area agencies, businesses, and residents have committed the necessary resources to ensuring that the 2017 Project materializes.