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One Detroit neighbourhood gets the ultimate reno

Thursday, July 05, 2012 3:40 PM | Deleted user

Nicholas Köhler, Maclean's, July 5, 2012 (Interviews with residents, and neighborhood initiatives in housing and beautification)

[The years of the early 20th century] were Detroit's salad days, and Boston-Edison reflected that glory. Here the Ford home is modest beside many of its neighbours. A district of leafy boulevards, stately mansions and handsome cottages stretched out over 36 city blocks just north of midtown, it was the domain of auto executives, hard-charging industrialists and retail tycoons. Sebastian S. Kresge, founder of what later became K-Mart, Jacob Siegel, head of the American Lady Corset Company, and Walter Briggs, who was, among other things, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Briggs Stadium—they all lived here, and all made sure their homes were stamped with appropriate grandeur....

[In the 21st century] the community has hung on, even shown signs of improvement, and is attracting dozens of newcomers, thanks largely to the ingenious interventions of the neighbourhood's homeowners.... The people of Boston-Edison, many of them preservationists who withstood the magnetic pull of the suburbs, banded together. "There are a lot of professionals here," says Brian Ceccon, a retired social worker and a former director of the neighbourhood association. "They don't have to live here - they're choosing to." The homeowners began a policy of adopting empty houses, mowing the lawns and keeping watch. "We secured funding to purchase locks and secured the homes if there was a break-in, hung curtains, trimmed shrubs - just to make the homes appear occupied," says Pamela Miller Malone, a former neighbourhood association president.

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