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Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Open Space in Detroit

Key Ownership and Funding Considerations to Inform a Comprehensive Open Space Planning Process

Published: October 2015


Author(s): Center for Community Progress

Open space development, improvement, and maintenance is a significant challenge for Detroit given its fiscal constraints, and implementing a plan will require creative and strategic financing decisions. The opportunity to create a valuable asset in the form of a multifaceted open space system, however, should not be passed up. Detroit will invest in itself, and in so doing, create a more stable, sustainable future. The city is poised to seize this challenge and reap the benefits of intentional green areas in the form of community open spaces, ecological areas, and working productive landscapes.

This study was commissioned by Detroit Future City Implementation Office (DFC) to examine the viability of long-term open space options identified in the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework. The initial guidance included in this report is intended to help inform the planned development of a Comprehensive Open Space Plan for Detroit. This Open Space Plan should define a concrete long-range vision and implementation strategy and should be created with significant input from the public to ensure that the residents of Detroit benefit from their continued support of and investment in the city.

This study does not seek to provide a roadmap for the development of an open space plan. Instead, it aims to provide high-level guidance about the key factors that a range of decisionmakers should consider during the open space planning process, related to open space uses, ownership models, and funding options. Specifically, while laying out several options, this report emphasizes a select number of uses highlighted in the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework that appear to bear particular promise or currently garner high levels of interest from Detroit residents and leaders. Final recommendations about which open space land uses are ultimately appropriate for Detroit can only be determined following an extensive open space planning process. The two key questions addressed in this report are:
1. What are the range of ownership models that could be considered for open space, depending on type of use, permanence of use, scale, and location?
2. What are the funding needs for the types of open space uses examined in this report and what existing or creative funding tools may be available to address those needs?

his report provides an overview of a number of different ownership models and funding mechanisms for large-scale, long-term open space reuse in the “Innovation Productive” and “Innovation Ecological” areas envisioned in the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework.

Published: October 2015


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