Community Development continues to step up during park improvements
The Northwest Park renovations were part of a $300,000 investment via the Community Development Department, and focused on a new plays cape, fitness area, gaming tables, pavilion and public restrooms. Those were done through the Community Development Block Grant program.
Community Development also used Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funds to complete the non-motorized paths through the new Fletcher Park property, located south of Heritage Park in the area between Northline, Racho, Superior and Pardee. While the paths cut through the tree line area of the new Fletcher Park, they also have created new pathways connecting Northline with Eureka, along Racho, and have created new sidewalk connectivity along Superior.
TAP is a competitive grant program that uses federal transportation funds designated by Congress for specific activities that enhance the intermodal transportation system and provide safe alternative transportation options. These type of funds have been targeted by Taylor for improving the community’s non-motorized connectivity. TAP funds were also instrumental in getting new sidewalks along Telegraph Road under the Ecorse Road intersection.
A key portion of the Community Development Department has been the “Right of First Refusal” program, which has rehabilitated 153 homes since the inception of the program over three years ago. In this program, Taylor claims houses within the City that have been lost under tax foreclosure and are scheduled to be available for auction through Wayne County. Using contractors, the program rehabilitates the homes and brings them up to all building codes, and establishes Certificates of Occupancy. They are then sold on the open market.
Thanks to this program, 115 of the 153 properties have resulted in owner-occupied home buyers, not renters. While the program doesn't promote rentals, it has allowed some tenants (38) who were paying rent in good faith from losing their place to live due to landlords who refused to pay property taxes. In addition, the program has demolished 10 blighted homes that were beyond repair. One of the 10 demolitions became a new construction home.
The program stabilizes neighborhoods that were seeing large number of rentals prior to the inception of the program. This has helped raise home values in neighborhoods that were hit hardest by the recession.
Community Development funds were also used to create landscaping for the new “We Dance for Joy” sculpture and gardens in front of the Taylor Recreation Center; a new water pump feature in a pond outside the William Ford Senior Activities Center; construction of the new Taylor Recreation Center Spin Cycle Studio; and assisted 17 first-time home buyers with down payment assistance through the HOME grant program.
Going from good to great across Taylor
After beginning the Good to Great Neighborhood Program in spring 2018, the City continued to aggressively improve its residential areas again this year. The G2G efforts focused on the northwest sector of the community (between Van Born, Beech Daly, Beverly and Inkster roads) for a lengthy period of the year, but also worked its way through seven other areas in 2019.
Between the improvements in the northwest corner and later the area between Goddard, Brest, Pardee and Telegraph, the program laid more than 6,200 square yards of new concrete, improving the community’s streets. More minor panel replacements were also done outside those two large areas. The G2G program also ran parallel to a major water main project in the northwest corner, which laid 13,000 linear feet of new 8-inch water mains.
Overall, workers trimmed or removed 634 trees in G2G areas, and 259 more outside those neighborhoods. Over 45,000 linear feet of sanitary sewers were relined in the City as part of the Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater (SAW) Grant Program, which inspects, videos and improves drainage systems across Michigan communities. Forty-nine spot liners were also installed; 150 fire hydrants flushed; 20 hydrant valves were repaired, and two valves replaced.
Street improvements also continued as part of the PASER program (Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating System), during which the City evaluates and rates its streets every two years, and then follows with renovations. This year, major concrete work was done on Brest between Katherine and Dudley (1,000 square yards); Superior between Beech Daly and Harold (1,100); and Jackson between Eureka and Chestnut (600). Meanwhile, asphalt renovations took place on Koths between Telegraph and Pardee (11,000 square yards); and Cape Cod between Goddard and Brest (7,000), which also had its sewer main replaced (it ran underneath the length of street).
Fletcher Park (10,000 linear feet) and Northwest Park (3,000) had new eight-foot-wide asphalt paths added.