Community Development


Since 1997, UNI has been a committed partner in restoring and sustaining the Springwells  community. None of our efforts would have been possible without community, public, private, and philanthropic support committed to the livability of the community for its existing residents, businesses and stakeholders. UNI’s role in these collaborative efforts has focused on parks, playscapes, public art, community centers and clean and safe alleys.  Representative on-going and completed projects include:


Ongoing Projects:

Lawndale Center - 2026 Lawndale  

The Lawndale Center will be constructed from a former Masonic-Moose Lodge, a 7000 square foot historic structure. The exterior fascia will be retained and upgraded while the interior will receive extensive structural, mechanical, electrical and communication upgrades. UNI is committed to tenanting the facility with complementary human development and educational service providers for area residents while retaining a critical piece of their neighborhood’s history.

Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project

Since 2007, our Southwest Urban Arts Mural Project  (SUAMP) has been a creative conduit for youth, under professional mentors, to create one of Detroit’s densest collections of public murals. The art work is largely commissioned by area residents and business owners. Participants work with trained professional artists from the College for Creative Studies - Community Arts Partnerships and are at the forefront of their community’s place-making and neighborhood development efforts. Take a look HERE to see how Culture Source, one of southeast Michigan's leading arts advocacy groups highlighted SUAMP to demonstrate the ties between creative expression and neighborhood empowerment. 



All Saints Neighborhood Center (8300 Longworth):  Renovation of a 6,300 SF former chapel constructed in 1921.  

Springdale Green Neighborhood Park (Intersection of Longworth and Mullane):  Creation of 28,000 SF park and play scape from vacant, blighted properties. (See banner above for photo of this facility)

Lafayette Playlot (W. Lafayette - immediately west of Springwells): Restoration of former city playground.

Weiss Playlot (Intersection of Woodmere and Mandell): Rehabilitation of city owned playground.

Phoenix Multicultural Academy School Playground (7735 Lane): Phased enhancements including basketball, volley ball and soccer features, walking trail, benches and trees.  Public dedication of the project's completion will take place in Spring 2015.


Community Development Infrastructure: 

However, equally important to physical development, we help to create community organizational structures that empower residents to maintain assets within their neighborhoods and lead development efforts within their community. Examples of UNI efforts to support the infrastructure of community engagement include: 

  • Springwells Village Quality of Life Plan (QOL) : Involvement of over 500 residents and businesses in a comprehensive plan for the improvement of the Springwells Village Community. 
  • Well Community Project:  An outgrowth of the QOL to create modes of community engagement around community planning and project support.