1997 Community Reinvestment Strategy


The Detroit Community Reinvestment Strategy (CRS) had an ambitious mission:

Develop comprehensive recommendations for reinvestment across the entire city, simultaneously, to involve as many people as possible in the process, and to complete the process within one year's time.

The results of this effort have been compiled into a series of ten reports (listed in the margin). These reports contain a wealth of information, and they are not designed to just be read and sit on a shelf. Instead, these reports can be used as tools for reinvestment. Data collection and reporting was standardized so that all ten reports can be used both independently and in conjunction with one another.

Developers interested in investing in the city can use these reports to determine what type of new developments are desired and where, including the best areas for new housing and rehabilitation potential.

Entrepreneurs looking to open a small business can use these reports to see what types of goods and services are missing in different areas.

Local community groups can use the reports to assist with grant writing to secure funding for projects.

Finally, anyone who is interested in what new developments are under way or planned for the city can use these reports, just to see what is happening in the City of Detroit.

The CRS reports and background information can be viewed by selecting the CRS Clusters from the list in the margin.

In 1994, Mayor Dennis Archer convened the Land Use Task Force, an appointed body whose purpose was to develop the initial vision for future land use and reinvestment potential for the City of Detroit. 

In only four months, the Detroit Land Use Task force published a report titled "A Framework for Action: A Report for community Discussion". The report provided general guidelines for future redevelopment and recommended that a more detailed, "deep dive" planning effort take place. 

After receiving additional community input, the Land Use Task Force recommended that there be a follow-up community-based planning process, in order to provide more detailed reinvestment recommendations. This is the process known as the Detroit Community Reinvestment Strategy (CRS). 

CRS was designed by a group of twenty local neighborhood and community leaders that met over the course of four months in 1996 to design the general mission, goals, and objectives of the CRS process. The report developed by these community leaders provided the organizational structure followed throughout the CRS process, and helped to solicit funding. 

CRS was a grant-funded project, with Kresge Foundation and others providing the necessary financing. The Greater Downtown Partnership, a non-profit corporation whose mission is to accelerate the physical revitalization and economic development in downtown Detroit, was the fiduciary. The Planning and Development Department sponsored and managed the project, and provided in-kind support.

To carry out this mission, the project had several phases. First, during the start-up phase, Core Staff was hired, cluster boards were elected, site offices were established, and consultant teams and community organizers were hired in each of the ten clusters. February 8, 1997 was the official "kick-off' of the CRS process, Over 800 people attended the kick-off meeting, and each of the ten cluster boards was elected at that time.
During the Data Collection Phase, sources such as the US Census, the City of Detroit Master Plan, city departments, existing community plans, windshield surveys, and focus groups were all used as tools to generate a comprehensive picture of existing conditions in the city. This information was organized under planning topics: Neighborhood Commercial, Housing, Job Centers, Transportation, Youth Development, Environment, and Special Issues. All of the data collected throughout the process is included in the Final Cluster Reports.
The Visioning and Goal Setting phase provided a forum for cluster boards and community stakeholders to develop a vision of their communities over the next five to ten years. Each phase resulted in the development of Reinvestment Recommendations in each cluster. Once each cluster had developed and prioritized their recommendations, the CRS Task Force, a group primarily composed of one representative from each of the cluster boards, determined common themes between clusters in order to develop citywide "reinvestment recommendation". These citywide recommendations appear later in this summary.

CRS's mission was to identify the assets, strengths, land use, and other reinvestment opportunities for individual neighborhoods in Detroit, and to recommend reinvestment priorities for the next five to ten years. 

The objectives of CRS were to: 

  1. Identify and prioritize opportunities for reinvestment that offer the most potential for improving the neighborhood, community, and city as a place to live and do business; 
  2. Identify existing barriers to reinvestment and to recommend the type of investment activity and location where it would be most effective to the community, and; 
  3. Develop a common community planning database that can be used to attract investments, support project planning, and enhance community decision-making. 

The CRS process was designed to solicit and rely on the input and participation of a broad base of people. CRS was a success because of the many board members and stakeholders who donated much of their time, including evenings and weekends. In order to meet the goals of CRS, the city was divided into ten geographical planning areas, called Neighborhood Clusters. Each cluster had a board of fourteen to twenty elected members, representing local residents, schools, businesses, institutions, and faith community, and was given the task of collecting information, developing a common vision, and determining reinvestment priorities and recommendations. 

In order to carry out the mission of CRS each cluster was provided a great deal of technical support. The CRS Core Staff was comprised of a Project Manager, a Resource Manager, three Planner/Coordinators, and an Administrative Assistant. Michigan Metropolitan Information Center (MIMIC) of Wayne State, was the Information Manager for the process. In addition to the Core Staff, each cluster had the support of a technical assistance team, composed of private planning consultants, and a Community Organizer. The cluster boards interviewed and helped select their consultant teams. The consultant teams assisted the cluster boards through each phases of the process, and compiled all of these steps into the final report for each cluster.