Woods, Detroit to host meetings on neighborhood improvements

By: Brendan Losinski | Advertiser Times | Published September 21, 2016

HARPER WOODS — Harper Woods and the city of Detroit have planned a series of community meetings for Harper Woods residents and the residents of the Detroit neighborhoods that border Harper Woods.

These meetings are being hosted to create a neighborhood improvement plan designed by the residents of both cities.

“The meetings are all about getting a composite vision for people’s neighborhoods,” said Tyrone Hinton, the Harper Woods economic and community development director. “We want people to share with us the three things they want to see in their communities, and the three things they want to see disappear.”

Hinton said historical evidence indicates that significant neighborhood development only occurs when a sizable and diverse portion of the community invests in the effort. He also believes it is futile and ineffective to wait for outside help to begin working to build up a community. 

“What we want to do is make sure the path going forward is one the community agrees with and supports,” said Harper Woods City Manager Randolph Skotarczyk. “These meetings are something we’re very excited about and we want more people to know about and take part in.”

Hinton said the key thing he wants these meetings to accomplish is to improve community cohesion. He wants to include many different people as part of the solution.

The most recent meeting was scheduled to take place Sept. 15, after press time, at the Harper Woods Public Library. It was to focus on trying to establish a cohesive vision for the community.

“When you get people to start working with one another and knowing one another, they start to see it as a community belonging to all of them, not just a place where they live,” said Hinton.

The next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Harper Woods Library community room. It will focus on assessing local resources and gauging community needs.

“I would like to see progress in bringing people together and progress on getting rid of unused or abandoned properties,” said Hinton. “We want to be part of improving this area and having the value of the residencies in the area staying the same or going up.”