Eastside Community Network (ECN) has led planning around open space for a decade through the Lower Eastside Action Plan (LEAP) process. Residents and technical experts came together to form strategies for improving the large amount of vacant land left behind by demolitions, with green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) as one such strategy. The Hamilton Rainscape Learning Lab, which emerged from those plans, completed construction in June 2019 and now serves as an outdoor classroom to teach students and the community about stormwater, native plants, and other topics. The process for creating that space highlights the importance of community engagement in developing these projects. But there remains tremendous need for similarly impactful projects across Detroit and other urban landscapes. Moving forward, ECN looks to assemble community and technical experts to build policies that promote more equitable, healthier neighborhoods in preparation for the encroaching threats of climate change.
Resident Engaged Open Space and a Climate Resilient Future in Detroit
Eastside Community Network
Bailey Park Project
Katrina Keeby-Watkins is a former Therapist, Educator, and Social Worker. Katrina earned a Master's degree in Education from Central Michigan University. She is a Non-profit professional with 20 year's cumulative experience in garnering corporate partnerships, working with underserved youth, and creating and executing workforce development programs in Metro Detroit.
In 2013, a neighbor encouraged her to start a nonprofit to create change in her neighborhood. From that conversation, she formed The Bailey Park Project, a 501c(3) community development organization established to catalyze innovation, empowerment, and community revitalization. Bailey Park Project's goal is to improve the quality of life in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood through social and environmental impact projects.