When the uprisings of summer 1967 swept through Detroit, the unrest decimated an east-side tobacco shop.
Today, a community-centered nonprofit is aiming to convert the spot on Mack Avenue where the business once stood into a destination to unite residents through arts, culture, food and recreation.
To finalize its Mack Lot project, which is part of a larger effort to create a pedestrian-friendly corridor, the nonprofit MACC Development has been working to find funds. This weekend, group officials are slated to gain a windfall through Pitch for Detroit 2017.
The one-day sports tournament led each year by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit’s NEXTGen Detroit division has picked MACC as its recipient. Participants hope to raise $20,000 for the group by playing kickball Sunday at Wayne State University.
For a group that depends on grants and outside support, the funding could be key in completing a major project.
“It’s really just a highlight of what can happen when a community comes together and says: ‘This is what we want here,’ ” said Ezekiel Harris, executive director of MACC Development.
His group is the latest beneficiary of Pitch for Detroit, which coordinators estimate has generated more than $250,000 since 2010 to boost projects across the Motor City.
Formed by the Mack Avenue Community Church, MACC Development works to revitalize Detroit’s 48214 ZIP code through efforts centered on youth, education, housing and economic development.
The lot project connects to a larger Mack Avenue Corridor Development Plan that MACC Development is leading with residents, business owners and community groups to transform a 13-block stretch.
To overhaul the lot, MACC leaders envision much for the 8,000-square-foot vacant parcel between the group’s building and D&D Storage, where the business once stood.
Following input from the community, designs call for a central performance stage; a long table to anchor communal gatherings; a play area for children; rain gardens; and an outdoor seating space dovetailing with The Commons, a coffee bar/coin laundry slated to operate in MACC…