In 2010, Jeff Cowin moved into his Virginia Park Historic District home off the Lodge Freeway near Detroit's New Center area. The street was flush with abandoned, blighted homes.
Now, a little more than seven years later, the street has completely been transformed with $2.9 million in investment, Aleanna Sleacon of the Detroit Free Press reports:
With the support of his neighbors, investors and community partners, Cowin said the feat was accomplished one house at a time. The process meant tracking down property owners, anteing up cash to buy the homes and renovate and finding stable renters who, in some cases, turned into homeowners.
"We just started to chip away at the issues that we could," said Cowin a former BMW master technician turned master home rehabber.
"I've personally managed renovation of 12 of the homes, other folks have come in and renovated ... and there are at least eight other homes. What you have now is a historic district that sort of rejuvenated itself."
"The progress in Virginia Park is a great example of what is possible when residents take an active role in the revitalization of their own neighborhood and work closely with the Department of Neighborhoods to address certain strategic needs in and adjacent to their community," says Marshall Bullock, District 5 manager for the city's Department of Neighborhoods.