Detroit Future City Presents: Lots of Stories, Featuring North Rosedale Park Civic Association and Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation 
The future looked bleak for Stahelin Street back in 2004,when Beverly Frederick, lifelong Northwest Detroit resident and member of the North Rosedale Park Civic Association (NRPCA) first considered its potential. While centered in the beautiful community of North Rosedale Park in Northwest Detroit, Stahelin Street had become a neighborhood eyesore with blighted homes owned by residents who left the city, and disengaged community members who saw little hope in ever seeing their street restored.

The fate of Stahelin Street began to look bright again in 2005, when Frederick, along with her longtime collaborator, Clarenda Webb, organized a small group of volunteers who made a pledge to mow the grass on the street every Thursday. They soon became known as the “Stahelin Mower Gang.”  “As a community-minded individual, I just wanted to make a difference,” said Frederick. Stahelin Street has become part of a series of community clean-up events, including Detroit Partnership Day and Motor City Make-Over, as well as ongoing partnerships with resource sharing organizations such as Arise Detroit Inc. In addition to the efforts of community members of North Rosedale Park, the City of Detroit’s Demolition Department started taking down blighted homes, helping the mower gang’s newly-envisioned plan, to restore the beauty of Stahelin Street, move in the right direction.

In 2015, Stahelin Street’s landscape changed drastically. The demolitions left many vacant lots behind. With a growing interest from residents around blight elimination, Frederick came across the Detroit Future City (DFC) Implementation Office’s Field Guide to Working with Lots mini grant program via email from the Vacant Property Task Force. Realizing that the mini grant program could be the next great opportunity for restoring Stahelin Street, Frederick convinced the NRPCA to lease property from the Detroit Land Bank Authority, and apply for the program.

Now, as one of 15 chosen participants for the Field Guide mini grant program, the NRPCA is in the final planning stages of the Native Butterfly Meadow lot design, which will be implemented on Stahelin Street later this spring. To fill the excess space on the lot, the NRPCA wants to paint a mural on the side of the neighboring house, and is also partnering with the Heidelberg Project to paint birdhouses that currently sit on bollards at the lot’s entrance.

Inspired by the work of the NRPCA on Stahelin Street, a similar project is underway just a few blocks away. Becki Kenderes serves as the Program Manager for Building Sustainable Communities for the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC). Kenderes fell in love with the city of Detroit four years ago as a graduate student interning with the GRDC. She stayed in the city to spearhead projects related to land beautification in Northwest Detroit. Having also been selected as a Field Guide mini grant winner, Kenderes is in the planning stages of GRDC’s “Grandville Street Friendly Fence,” named after the street on which the  Friendly Fence lot design will be implemented later this spring. The Friendly Fence, described as part rain garden, part grassy mound, is a design that offers a natural barrier for Grandville Street.

“We see a lot of vacancies along the edges of our community,” says Kenderes, who pointed out that Grandville St. is a boarder street in Grandmont Rosedale next to the Brightmoor community. “Grandville is no exception.”

According to Becki, the Friendly Fence lot design is a favorite among residents in the neighborhood who, like the NRPCA, are looking for an opportunity to work together and improve their neighborhood.

Thanks to Frederick, Kenderes, and the engaged residents of Grandmont Rosedale, who are committed to improving the quality of life in their communities, the futures of their beloved streets are looking much brighter.

Although they have their work cut out for them, residents from all around Northwest Detroit are coming together to board up properties, cut the grass, rakes leaves, and participate in community cleanups.

People need to know how much work it took to cleanup that neighborhood,” said Frederick. “The volunteers are incredible. It is a real community effort. It was due to the effort of a lot of people who believed in our vision.” Frederick helped the newly-formed Stahelin Block Club build a sense of kinship with neighbors who interact with each other, regularly.

To save money, Frederick and Kenderes share a tool pod that houses several lawn mowers, rakes, wheelbarrows, gloves, almost anything you would need to complete a project like the Field Guide successfully. 

This summer, come out and see the Field Guide in action through the work of residents of Northwest Detroit, the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation and the North Rosedale Park Civic Association!

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2990 W. Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48202