Community Chooses Top Four Environmental Priorities

Over 150 residents and many community stakeholders with SDEV completed the first phase of an EPA-CARE grant (Community Action for a Renewed Environment) in 2009. The funding supported forming the Southwest Detroit-South Dearborn Environmental Collaborative, a partnership of Southwest Detroit and South Dearborn residents, non-profit organizations, business leaders, universities, and city and state agencies.

During the first phase of the CARE grant, community members and other collaborative partners identified 100 issues of concern and formed working groups to identify and focus on key issues, including: air quality, lead poisoning, asthma, illegal dumping, abandoned buildings, land contamination, lack of green space, and solid waste. We looked at how many people are affected by each issue, health risks, availability of resources, current actions being taken on the issue, and the feasibility of implementing proposed solutions. The information gathered was put into a series of environmental issue reports, which were distributed and discussed at the collaborative meetings.

After providing data to the community that was gathered about each issue, we held a community meeting on August 12, 2009 to compare the relative risks posed in order to choose four priority issues to focus on in the community.

The Collaborative members present at the meeting chose the following priority issues for Southwest Detroit and South Dearborn:
– Mobile Source Air Pollution from trucks, and other diesel engine equipment
– Stationary Source Air Pollution from large and small industries
– Incompatible Land Use from lack of green space, land contamination, and the close proximity of resident homes and schools to industry
– Lead Poisoning/Asthma (Healthy Homes) from old age of Detroit homes containing lead paint and close proximity of resident homes to industry

SDEV applied for and received a second EPA-CARE grant to implement programs and projects to address these environmental issues of concern. This second CARE grant is made up of two programs: Healthy Homes and Healthy Businesses (see program pages for more information). SDEV also regularly applies for funding from other sources to implement projects that address one or more of these issues.

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