History

We believe any community organization must ultimately be measured by what's been accomplished. We're proud of the range of success stories we've been involved with in Southwest Detroit.

They began in 1957 when the "West Vernor Businessman's Association" was established to combat the loss of businesses to the suburban malls. Some 20 years later, with a number of programs and business successes in place, our name officially became known as "Southwest Detroit Business Association" and our scope expanded as we began working with the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce

Shortly thereafter, in 1981, we were first to receive a LISC grant in the City of Detroit for commercial revitalization. We were also the first business group in Michigan to receive non-profit status, thanks to a number of community development projects that had been successfully implemented. A year later, another first took place when the first facade improvement on West Vernor was completed at Rebert's Bakery with a $1,000 investment.

In 1985, the initial "Do it in Detroit" event took place, in conjunction with the Detroit Chamber of Commerce. The campaign incorporated a series of events throughout the city to encourage shopping along main streets. The next year, the program's name became known as "Shop Your Block."

Shortly thereafter, SDBA efforts expanded further - in 1989, we founded the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation in partnership with Hubbard Richard Community Council. Then, two years later, the Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV) was created in partnership with the East Michigan Environmental Council.

Next, formal recognition for our efforts - in 1993, we were selected as just one of three  organizations nationwide as a Community Initiated Development National Main Street model. Specifically, Southwest Detroit's Hubbard Farms was designated as a Local Historic District and placed on the National Register of Historic places.

In 1994 we created an initiative that still in place and effective today - our Community Policing program, which also contributed to our Jumpstart the Motor City Empowerment Zone Application and, in turn, allowed us to be eligible for Federal incentives. As a direct result, the Rebert Building was purchased and became a major redevelopment project, eventually serving as headquarters for the Southwest Detroit Service Center and main office for the ADBA.

For the rest of the 90s, our efforts took shape in many innovative and varied ways. We were first in Detroit to secure and utilize a Geographical Information System (GIS) to aid in planning and mapping, we created the Southwest Detroit Graffiti-Free Collaborative, and, by 1997, were helping shape the Detroit's Reinvestment Strategy for Cluster 5, better known as Southwest Detroit. Finally, in 1999, redevelopment efforts culminated with a new 25,000 square foot Supermercado in the Heart of West Vernor, built by E&L and representing a $4 million investment.

As we moved into the 21st Century, several milestones of note took place. The year 2002 marked 20 years in print for the region's Community News publication, which celebrated the occasion by becoming bilingual. Up the street, some 89 buildings on West Vernor received official recognition by the National Park service, US Department of the Interior, and National Historic Preservation of Historic Places. Perhaps, then, it was only natural that two years later, in 2004, we were awarded with a Cool Cities Grant and the DTE Power of Excellence award.

Most recently, in 2007, with the support of the SDBA Business owners, work to formalize the first BID in the State of Michigan was initiated. And the first phase of the subsequent Greenways project was completed. Then, in '08, we launched the

"Savor Southwest Detroit" campaign to increase awareness of our area's culinary strengths. Then, 2009 saw BID services expand to cover a greater area and we began to work in the Mexicantown area on Detroit's ReStore district.

Looking ahead, there's no telling where our efforts might be directed. But you can bet we'll be in the center of the Southwest, looking to help a community that is solidly committed to growth, changes, and people.

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