Citywide SOUP Winner – November 2012

One great aspect about this city is the community engagement and the people that are involved with it on a daily basis. Day in and day out, wonderful humans strive to make Detroit a better place, even if it takes a little bit of elbow grease. Spaulding Court is a great example of just that, a group of likeminded people, looking at improving their surroundings to not only make their community more viable, but also a safer place for Detroiters to live.

“There was a small community at Spaulding Court that was resilient in the face of many challenges but beginning to be overwhelmed by the lack of support from the surrounding community,” explained Jon Koller, part of the crew at Spaulding Court. “Friends of Spaulding Court was an attempt (successful!) by the surrounding neighbors to help that small community with their struggles and set a strong foundation for growth.”

Located in North Corktown, Spaulding Court was hit by some heavy fires in 2008, which left only one tenant occupying the space. After hard work and dedication from new owners, slowly, but surely more units were made habitable to live in. Living in Michigan, winters can be pretty harsh, so winning SOUP helped Spaulding Court get ready for the frigid winter months.

“The money we got from SOUP filled the gap when we had to do some critical winterization work, just at the right time. It was also a validation of all our efforts.”

With such a small community base at Spaulding Court, they are able to grow to a size they find comfortable. Putting their efforts on growing at their own rate, gives them the ability to have control of their project.

As far as what the future holds for Spaulding Court, they are just looking at taking one step at a time to grow their community deeper. Now that they are able to rely mainly on themselves, rather than needing help from other communities, they can start to add more people.

“Looking to open up more units, formalize our status, grow in size and get deeper. We’ve transitioned from a community that relied mainly on outside support to a community that relies mainly on itself,” Koller explained.

As far as like minded entrepreneurs, looking at getting their own project off the ground, it goes back to never giving up and always pushing to make those dreams into reality. Detroit is a unique place, filled with close-knit communities that are more than willing to lend a helping hand when in need.

“Keep turning the screw,” suggests Koller, some words of wisdom to fellow Detroiters looking at making a difference in their own communities. “And make sure that you grow at the rate that will help your project succeed, reflecting your own hopes and dreams, making the city of Detroit a better place for everyone.”

For more information about the Friends of Spaulding Court visit them online at www.spauldingcourt.com

Chaz Parks