One year ago, the outlook for Friends of Spaulding Court was bleak. We sadly lost two of our strongest board members and our volunteer director (that’s me) took a paying job outside the city. With big tax bills coming due, our organization had a dangerous lack of direction and manpower.
But rebuilding is what we do best.
We close out 2012 with the five tenants we started with plus seven newcomers. Two more units have advanced insulation—all our tenants will be warm this winter. The finish work at 1913 has been inspiring and we've opened up our 6th townhouse unit. New directors are joining the board and will give direction to Friends of Spaudling Court in the new year.
Next door, the Vermont Street Community Garden has had an amazing first year along with Acre Farm and the Detroit Heirloom Conservatory just down the street. Hostel Detroit finished it’s second successful tourist season; Brother Nature Produce pushed through a major expansion and the Hope Takes Root Community Garden continues its strong run.
Not far off, a handful of the remaining vacant homes are being renovated by new owner-occupants and the neighborhood is more active and organized than at any time in recent memory.
Since our 2012 summertime planning, our organization has been focused on the renovation of 1905 Spaulding Court. It will serve as temporary space for longtime tenant Josephine Harris while we overhaul her unit. While income from future tenants at 1905 will cover the costs of renovation there, we've established a long term rent-control agreement with Ms. Harris that will only cover long term operating costs, not the capital investments that are now underway.
Through generous donations, we've raised over $10,000 of the $30,000 needed to cover the costs of renovating Ms. Harris' home.
Fundraising has been a bit new to us—for most of our projects, borrowing is a better fit. Because of Ms. Harris’ perseverance through difficult conditions and her tireless support for this project during its darkest hours, the board and residents of Spaulding Court settled on a course that is admittedly outside our comfort zone.