$2M used to turn vacant lot in Southwest Detroit into park

‘We’re the lifeblood of the southern part of Detroit, and we want the city to know that we’re investing in ourselves’

A once abandoned school property will so be transformed into an urban paradise that will benefit families from three different cities. The groundbreaking ceremony was decades in the making.

DETROIT – Two million dollars will be used to turn a once-vacant lot in Southwest Detroit into an urban paradise that will benefit families from three different cities.

The groundbreaking ceremony was decades in the making.

“From the beginning when I first envisioned this goes back 30 years,” said Rev Dr. Alex Hill, New Mount Herman Missionary Baptist Church. “It’s exciting.”

“It was Dr. Alex Hill’s and Dr. Leonard Smith’s vision,” said Eden Park Volunteer Patricia Redding. “If I can give two minutes to help, It’s out of the kindness of my heart because I share the vision.”

People who live near the border of Detroit, Ecorse, and River Rouge say the location is an area that’s long been forgotten.

“48217 is always the last on the list for everything,” Redding said. “And to see this come to fruition is incredible.”

“This is the first major investment in over 68 years, and it’s been community-led,” said resident Theresa Landrum.

The vacant plot of land seen in the video player above will be transformed into Eden Park.

“You have your faith and vision for community, and this is why we’re here today,” said United States Representative Rashida Tlaib.

With a green space to combat pollution, a playground, a community house, and an amphitheater are all in the works.

The effort is for the next generation.

“My hope for Gabe is that he will grow up to understand that the community is just not all of the violence that we see growing up and that he has a safe environment and a safe haven to play in,” said Volunteer Alex Hill.

The former site of Mark Twain Elementary in Southwest Detroit is getting a two million dollar makeover.

The Tri-City Community Development Corporation says the goal is securing environmental justice, and the vision for the area was shaped by the people who live here.

“We’re the lifeblood of the southern part of Detroit, and we want the city to know that we’re investing in ourselves, and we want the city to invest in us,” Landrum said.

The grassroots project is expected to be completed by 2024.

As far as Memorial Day Weekend, big plans are in place as a festival and carnival will be running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Monday, Eden Park will host a Memorial Day Salute at 11 a.m.


About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.