Good News, Bad News, and Lessons Learned

Greetings fellow Solutionaries and loyal readers,

Bad news first. The house we worked on throughout January, which we were planning to convert into a residence and community resource for sustainable home upgrades, is slated for demolition. There is much commotion with the city right now, other folks are trying to take ownership of the project and move it forward. It isn’t in the ground yet, but its future is definitively uncertain.

All’s going well with Soulardarity. We’re in the midst of a planning stage. After the first light went in, we’ve been revisiting our long-term planning and business model. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time driving around Highland Park, meeting neighbors, and planning community meetings to facilitate active involvement in the planning and implementation of this project. We’ll be developing our master plan, partnerships with the city and neighborhood association, and a design for the streetlights we hope to build right in Highland Park. I don’t want to give away too much detail right now, but the plan right now is to launch a Capital Campaign in the next few months with the goal of raising $1.5 million to install 200 solar streetlights all in one fell swoop.

I’ve also been working with Detroit SOUP to get the Highland Park neighborhood SOUP underway. Detroit SOUP is a crowd-funding event that’s been running for three years. Every month, they hold a community dinner. It costs $5 at the door, which gets you soup, salad, bread, and a vote. Four people propose creative projects that benefit the Detroit community, give short presentations and take questions. Afterwards, everyone eats and talks and votes and, by 8:30, someone walks away with the door money (currently between $1000 and $1500). With support from one of their grants, we’ve held two Highlanf Park SOUP’s at St. Benedict Hall, and are excited for the first SOUP to occur at Nandi’s Knowledge Café, which is a little easier to find. Continue reading