The Eastpointe Children’s Garden Park, pictured, will benefit from a $2,500 grant provided by the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors.

The Eastpointe Children’s Garden Park, pictured, will benefit from a $2,500 grant provided by the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Eastpointe community receives grants

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 9, 2021

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe community will receive funds from two grant programs, albeit in two very different manners.

The first grant was given directly to the city from the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors. It will consist of $2,500, which will be used to make improvements to the city’s Children’s Garden Park.

Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens was able to apply for the grant since she is a member of the GMAR.

“I was glad to use my platform and to use my membership as a means to apply and represented Eastpointe as mayor in the application process,” Owens said. “We will continue to revitalize our community and keep it looking welcoming and inviting. We believe that this grant will enhance our already beautiful Children’s Garden and create a space where our children feel comfortable.”

The improvements will largely include improved landscaping and additional art projects to decorate and beautify the garden park.

“They are doing some updates as far as beautification — perennials, flowers, decorations and so forth,” explained Owens. “We want to add some public artwork to the garden. We want it to be a space where kids feel safe and families can go. We recently did a major art project sponsored by the DIA in the garden, so to get additional grant money to continue that work is exciting.”

The other grant is from Healthy Babies Bright Futures and will provide $10,000 to help combat health disparities in the community.

This grant, unlike the first, will not go directly through the city but will instead go through the Pregnancy Aid nonprofit. They will host an event to provide resources and education to parents and families in the Eastpointe area.

“We have to work out a few details as to when and where the event will be,” Pregnancy Aid representative Nancy Anter said. “There were a few snags in the planning process, so it all still needs to be decided. We’re aiming for a September date right now. Anyone interested can still check our website, www.pregnancyaiddetroit.org, for updates.”

The Eastpointe City Council did not approve receiving the funding directly at its meeting on June 1. When Owens brought the matter up for a vote, none of the other four members supported the measure. Several stated this was because Pregnancy Aid is an anti-abortion organization and they did not wish to promote a political organization.

“My concern is it’s a pro-life organization, and it’s kind of a political organization, so I’m not sure I would feel comfortable supporting — whether it was one side or another — an event with an organization that has a political stance,” Councilwoman Sarah Lucido said at the City Council meeting.

“I don’t understand why the city needs to be involved at all,” said Councilman Cardi DeMonaco. “This event will be at a private nonprofit. I don’t see why this event can’t just happen within the city of Eastpointe and the city of Eastpointe doesn’t get involved. The last grant (regarding the Children’s Garden) improved city property; I don’t see a reason to get involved (with this one). … If the Red Cross comes here, they just do their event at the fire station. The city doesn’t accept any grant funds for it.”

Anter said the event would not be political in any way and that Pregnancy Aid is a 501(c)(3) and is, thus, prevented from taking political action.

“We’re not political,” she countered at the meeting. “It’s a 501(c)(3) and the majority of what we do is help women and babies in the community. We provide education for women on breastfeeding and parenting, self-esteem, stress management, and we give formula and diapers out. We’re privately funded, and it makes sense to push for health. We’re not allowed to be political because we collect funds privately.”

Owens said she planned for the city to be involved because she applied for the grant as mayor of the city, not as a private citizen. She added that she never viewed the matter as political since it is promoting improved health access to families and since the event will not be promoting any political agenda.

“We wanted to have the event at City Hall,” she said. “The partnership was based on my insight that the city could use this as a resource. We wanted local businesses to provide food and other resources and maybe contribute some things to help teach people about health and better eating habits and so forth. The City Council members thought it was a political matter, but it’s not political at all. It’s to help people deal with health disparities, not promote a political stance. It’s not pro-life or Republican or Democrat. I was very disappointed that this was turned down.”

Owens said she is glad the city is still getting this support in one form or another and believes addressing health care disparities is a crucial topic for every community, Eastpointe included.

“Pregnancy Aid, which is a local organization, is still going to be given the grant money. The city as a community will benefit, but the city as a body won’t receive the money even though I, personally, am still supporting it,” she said. “We wanted to reach out to the community to touch on health disparities in communities. We wanted to provide health resources for those in need. COVID-19 isolated a lot of people and took a lot of resources from people. We wanted to provide that by partnering with nonprofits and businesses. It would help teach how to deal with mental stress, educate people on healthy eating habits and introduce families to groups that can provide assistance.”

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