2016 Project

Scope of the Project in Denby

  • Built a new park, adjacent to Denby High School – including a Performance Pavilion with solar panels and a water catchment system, two basketball courts, volleyball court, pickleball court, putting green and two horseshoe pits
  • Helped LifeBuilders build their new community center
  • Critical repairs for 80 homeowners
  • 10,700 volunteers worked in the Denby neighborhood Aug 1 – 6, 2016
  • Removed blight on 303 city blocks
  • Boarded up 362 houses
  • Demarcated safe pathways to school
  • Life Remodeled partners to continue to invest in the community after the project

Denby High School & Neighborhood

Every year we select a different Detroit neighborhood based on two criteria: significant need and radical hope. For 2016, the Denby neighborhood on Detroit’s northeast side was chosen to receive substantial investment from Life Remodeled and our partners.  Although Denby was one of the most blighted neighborhoods in Detroit, its residents are resilient.

A unique element in Denby is that community development and blight removal have been integrated into the high school curriculum since 2013.  Denby students tackle blight head on, and formulate plans and strategies to develop their community.  Students are instructed to discover a real-world need in Detroit, design a project to meet that need, and defend it, similar to a master’s degree defense.

Of the many Capstone Projects embraced by Denby graduates since 2013, one project rose to the top: the creation of a new park, adjacent to Denby High School.  Part of Life Remodeled’s role was to bring the funding, labor, and materials necessary to build the entire $1.4 million park by August 2016.

Sandra Turner-Handy is a pillar of hope in the Denby community, and she has passionately and successfully rallied community support for this project since it was first designed by Denby students in 2013. Sandra lives, breathes and bleeds Denby. While she proudly raised her own children in the community, she never allowed them to play in a local park because it lacked attractive amenities and was perceived to be unsafe. Skinner Park will address both issues and transform perceptions.

In addition to the construction of this park, Life Remodeled mobilized 10,700 volunteers from the community and region to remove blight on 303 city blocks surrounding Denby schools and board up 362 vacant houses in six days, August 1 – 6, 2016.  Our partners also remodeled 80 homes in the community.