Celebrating the First New Development on Mack Avenue in 50 Years!

Detroit summers are a welcome respite from the cold and windy days we spend most of the year.  This year was a special summer, where Detroiters were reflecting and honoring the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Civil Unrest in Detroit.  Fifty years later, on Sunday, July 23rd, our neighbors, families, friends, and community leaders came together to celebrate our new development, the MACC Lot and to let the world know We Are Still Here!  

The Mack Lot was the former location of a tobacco shop which was burnt down during the 1967 civil unrest.  Since ‘67 it was used a parking lot for moving trucks and heavily filled with brush.  MACC Development held a series of meetings with the community to determine what could we do to activate the space for our busy community hub at Mack and Van Dyke.   

MACC Development with input from the Islandview, Pingree Park, and Villages communities have created a place for neighbors to relax, access free wi-fi, wait for the bus, host live performances or meetings, the ideas are unlimited!  The park will also provide recreational space for The Commons coin laundry and coffee shop opening in October 2017.  

“Hosting this block is a great way to empower our community to take back their neighborhood, and return Mack Avenue to its former more pedestrian friendly street.  Block parties such as this remind us that creativity, innovation, diversity and community are truly what makes Detroit a special place!”  

Ruby Moore-Sprowls, Lifelong Detroiter  

The Block Party had the music bumping with sounds from DJ/Beat Producer Dionote Nelson of Merch Music and the smooth jazz stylings of the Wayne Henry Duo!  There was a gigantic checker set, bouncy house, sand hill, and play box for our children, and the day was topped off with great food and free giveaways donated by D&D Storage Company!!  We had the community engagement officers from the Wayne County Sheriff office, we appreciate their information on how to keep our neighborhood safe and opportunity for them to get to know our community.

It was great day, we meet new neighbors and realized we determine the future of your community, and that future is hope and progress.  We praise our Lord and thank Jesus because he is watching over us in the 48214!

“We are one, no matter what we do
We are one, love and working together will see us through
We are one and that’s just the way it is Detroit!”


By Edythe Ford, Community Engagement Director

Cultivating Healthy Readers!

This summer, our Happy Campers began a unit of garden study called, Learn, Grow, Eat & Go! Over the course of 6 weeks, they learned about plants, including why they are important to us, how to grow a garden, and how to give plants what they need to grow. 

The first week, they learned the how to remember the six basic plant needs with the letters P.L.A.N.T.S. – a place to grow, light, air, nutrients, water, and soil.

They also learned about plant and nutrition science.  Plants are made up of different parts, such as roots, stems, and leaves.  Do you know what parts of a plant our food comes from?  Spinach and lettuce are examples of leaves, corn is the seed of the plant, and tomatoes are the fruit of the plant. What about a potato? Or how about an onion?

We went on to learn that people need a variety of foods and types of nutrients to grow. Our campers can name the 5 food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, and dairy – and got a chance to show off their Go, Slow, Whoa foods classification skills.  They even got to try their hand at meal planning. Need meal planning tips of your own? Check out www.choosemyplate.gov

During our time together, we also talked about how we make decisions about what we like to eat.  We encouraged our little ones to try new foods, sampled a variety of fruits and vegetables and judged them based on sight, smell, feel, sound and taste. We learned a great rule of thumb when it comes to giving our body the nutrients and fuel it needs…. eat foods of many different colors! 

In addition to our plant and nutrition science focus, we worked hard on our Summer Abridge Reading Program.  We also studied the Fruits of the Spirit and praised the Lord in song – "Every Move I Make", "Set A Fire", "I Will Follow", "Awesome God", and "Father I Adore You" (in Sign Language) are among their favorites!

Summer is coming to a close and plans are underway for the start of MACC Lit's fall semester.  MACC Lit resumes October 17th and will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00-6:00 p.m.  Homework help starts at 4:00 and tutoring will begin at 5:00 p.m.  Online registration starts September 15th. Spaces are limited.  

If you're interested in volunteering with MACC Lit, please join us on either Tuesday, September 12th or Thursday, September 28th at 5:00 p.m. for an introductory volunteer meeting and tutor training.  

For more information about MACC Lit, please contact Alyce Hartman via email at alyce@mackave.com or via phone at 313.732.9302. ext. 702.

Maggie and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with your children, this summer. Thank you for entrusting us with them. We pray that we have impacted their lives as positively as they have ours.

In Love,

Alyce Hartman, Program Manager, MACC Lit


For 50 years, the bare patch of land between D&D Moving and Storage and MACC Development on Detroit’s eastside has sat empty or used to park moving trucks.

Neighbors faintly remember it was once a tobacco shop.  But when the 1967 Detroit riot engulfed our neighborhood, Mack Avenue went up in flames and so did the tobacco shop.  Burned beyond repair the building was torn down.  And nothing has arisen since.  Sure there has always been plans and promises to rebuild Mack Ave., but the lot remained vacant and a stark reminder that fateful day, July 23, 1967.

Today, with a grant from Detroit Future City, working hard with Pingree Park and Islandview neighbors from start to finish, from planning to implementation we are opening a pocket park for residents to meet, drink coffee, chat about the community.  We are kicking it off  by creating a beautiful garden and community space, we recently planted trees, perennials, and decorative grass and now need a name for the park.

The park is a part of The Commons, a coin laundry and coffee shop, and is the brainchild of a Detroit neighborhood working together, taking chances when no one would take a chance on us.

The communities idea of developing The Commons and park on Mack Avenue started when we asked our neighbors “what do you want in your community” going block-by-block, door-to-door. The simple act of listening to the people in the neighborhood without an agenda and being guided by their wisdom challenged us to not repeat the same history of planning efforts in Detroit, which never turned into actionable plans.

“We do great damage to people by making decisions without them that they should have been involved in, but we are losing the greatest tool we have at our disposal—the wisdom, experience, and creativity of people in their own neighborhoods.”

To do this work, we had to move from seeing residents as clients and consumers of services to supporting them as our neighbors and central actors in community change. We went beyond asking residents to weigh in to asking them to dream, design, and implement.

In order to help keep the work moving, we met frequently as neighbors and leveraged what we had: (1) blight, which we believed we could turn into value, (2) our ability to ask other funders and investors to partner, and (3) access to lots of people with a pent-up desire to change their community. Then we all decided to stay, work, and neighbor.  

The results of our journey is The Commons and a community park, in a space that everyone had forgotten.  Now we have a place to rest, chat, wait for our laundry or the bus, a place to be neighbors and enjoy beautiful flowers and wonderful conversations.  The Mack Lot is a deep commitment to living in community, resident ownership and the belief that long-term learning relationships provide the most fertile ground for change.  

The road to open a business for and by the residents in Detroit’s lower eastside has been long and rocky.  However, we committed to action and because our efforts as neighbors and residents working together, we never gave up hope.  Last week when I was watching the contractors take down the old boards of our storefront a neighbor stopped, he said, “I know you guys wanted to give up, but we knew they (powers) wasn’t gonna make it easy for us in the hood, but y’all did it.  And God blessed us we got a laundry, coffee shop, reading and sports program for the kids, and legal service, we didn’t expect all those blessings”.  (Purvis Dace)