McDougall-Hunt is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Detroit and the last remaining historical residential area where many business owners from “Black Bottom” settled and raised their families. According to many historical accounts, McDougall-Hunt’s adjacency to Black Bottom contributes to a shared history, culture, and neighborhood context in Detroit. McDougall-Hunt, like many Detroit neighborhoods, has had to deal with a decreasing population and significant housing losses over the years as a result of neighborhood disinvestment, substantial foreclosures, and abandonment. Over several decades, the neighborhood has become increasingly vacant and the quality of living has suffered greatly – leaving many residents feeling less hopeful about the future.
As a community of close-knit neighbors, residents in McDougall-Hunt started coming together regularly to address these issues and test solutions in the community. While residents are aware of barriers to neighborhood stabilization, they are also very hopeful about McDougall-Hunt’s position given the neighborhoods close proximity to the revitalized Central Business District, Cultural Center, and Eastern Market district. Neighbors have taken note of how the city’s prosperity has impacted demographics, housing, and commercial development in neighborhoods adjacent to the city center and express great concern as land speculation in the neighborhood has reached a reported all-time high in McDougall-Hunt.
In 2018, resident leaders at the Bailey Park Neighborhood Development Corporation (BPNDC) and the McDougall-Hunt Neighborhood Association (MHNA) began a partnership with community development partners at the Eastside Community Network (ECN) and U-SNAP-BAC to guide the process of updating the 2003 McDougall Hunt Rehabilitation Plan. Their goal was to modernize priorities set forth in the 2003 Plan – incorporating sustainability concepts, leveraging modern assets, and addressing the prevailing concerns of residents. More than 150 residents and numerous city agencies were engaged to provide input, feedback, knowledge, and expertise to develop this framework. The result was the MDH Sustainable Redevelopment Plan—a document which assesses the neighborhoods history, analyzes existing conditions, and outlines the restored vision for this neighborhood.
The Sustainable Redevelopment Plan represents the overall strategic vision for how the neighborhood should advance the goals and priorities set forth by residents. The plan explores several topics including demographics, safety and crime, land use, and community assets. The plan also details the various community engagement and stakeholder engagement activities that took place, illustrating
residents’ priorities for the neighborhood. Lastly, this document includes recommendations for the planning team to consider as the planning process moves forward.
Recommendations provided in the Sustainable Redevelopment Plan are based on data collection and analysis conducted in concert with community planning consultants at McKenna. This data recognized current land use and market conditions, and took into account trends in population and development in the area. This analysis allowed residents to recognize both barriers and opportunities in order to develop practical solutions and action steps to help advance the neighborhood’s short and long-term goals.
The Sustainable Redevelopment Plan reinforces goals set forth in the 2003 plan and extends these priorities in anticipation of growth over the next 5-10 years. This plan is to serve as a living document as residents and the planning team continue forward in the planning and implementation process. This document is intended to guide growth to promote a cohesive neighborhood character and identity, steward the heritage of this historical community, and celebrate McDougall-Hunt's character as a unique place in Detroit.