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Community Redevelopment in Southwest Detroit In 1989, the Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) joined the Hubbard-Richard Community Council to form the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation (MCDC), a nonprofit corporation. Securing state funds, the organization identified issues that impeded retail growth in the area, such as lack of parking, security, and amenities. Local community residents sought to revitalize their neighborhood without sacrificing the landscape. The construction of Fiesta Gardens at Bagley and 21st Street, completed in 1991, was the first phase of a plan developed by MCDC to revitalize the section of Bagley just east of the I-75 freeway. The courtyard plaza, featuring a Spanish-style archway, ornamental iron and brickwork, and colorful landscaping, is used for holding special ceremonies, listening to music, or simply taking a break from everyday life. Plans for a community development project grew out of shared concerns over the lack of commercial investments along Bagley. MCDC has focused on landscape improvements and the need to increase the consumer base in the area so that any new development would not take customers from existing businesses. Among their many redevelopment activities, SDBA offers “ShopYour -Block” fairs to stimulate commerce, while MCDC sponsors fiestas that showcase the rich ethnic heritage of the Mexicantown area, spotlighting Michigan Latino artists, craftsmen, retailers, and importers of goods from Latin America. The Bagley Housing Association, near historic St. Anne Church, designed and built twenty-two modest new frame houses that mesh well with the neighborhood’s Victorian cottages. They plan to add twenty-three more, plus a complex of senior citizen condominiums. Every September, Casa de Unidad, a nonprofit arts and media organization, sponsors the Unity in the Community Festival at Clark Park. Its purpose is to identify, develop, and preserve the Latino/Hispanic Cultural Heritage of southwest Detroit and to create an awareness of this heritage among all citizens within southeastern Michigan. This organization also conducts workshops, offers technical assistance for artists for concerts and performances, and publishes literary works and collections and a statewide Hispanic Arts Directory. Other Detroit institutions involved with Latino community issues include the Detroit Council of the Arts, La Sed Youth Center, Latino Family Services Youth Center, Roberto Clemente Youth Center, and Wayne State University’s Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies. ...


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MARC Record
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