Grass Roots to Grass Tops

When the first seeds of RecoveryPark were planted, the idea was very much a corporate model – large-scale agriculture whose ideas would be taken to the community for approval.  Quickly, we were schooled by the Detroit Collaborative Design Center at the University of Detroit Mercy in the ways and methods of “the community engagement process.”  This process was a game changer for me personally – the power of WE.  It was also, unknowingly, a precedent setting undertaking for SHAR and eventually the RecoveryPark project.  The first harvest of community engagement are starting to be reaped!

In the next 60 days, several announcements will be made regarding 4 important pieces of RecoveryPark.  Each of these announcements are a direct result of community input into the project.  Each idea started with someone at a meeting taking the time to write and/or voice their idea of what should happen in our partner community.  I was skeptical at first, but these ideas form the foundation for the entire project and I am now 110% sold on the lengths that we have gone through to make RecoveryPark the success is has been to date.

I know that the critics point to the lengthy process – 28 months and counting.  They demand more and quicker progress.  Their collective voices believe that professionals know more about what is good for growth than do the people living, working and enjoying their neighborhoods.  In some areas they are right – so we invited them to the table for their input.  The results of this collaborative effort have been stellar in the breadth and creativity of the ideas that have fomented these many months.  I truly believe that real seeds will be planted this spring that will prove our model to be the way to future development modelling in Detroit and other US cities.

If you don’t have trust and believe that the power to make things happen is in the collective and not the ME – watch us and become a believer.  I did!

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