LISC National

LISC Supports Framework for Growth of the Creative and Cultural Economy in Milwaukee Junction


Detroit (June 12, 2019) – Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) President & CEO Maurice Jones will help kick off the implementation of the Milwaukee Junction District Framework on Thursday, June 13 that is designed to preserve affordability for creative, design and light industrial businesses in the neighborhood adjacent to the rising rents of Midtown and Downtown Detroit.


The Framework is part of LISC’s economic development districting strategy. The strategy uplifts inclusive economic development that empowers people, transforms places, supports enterprises and drives system change. Championed by lead community organizations designated as District Managers, the district methodology emphasizes organizing local businesses and stakeholders, support of investments in infrastructure, commercial, industrial and community facilities, catalyzing creative placemaking projects to promote the local cultural and artistic diversity within the district, and promotion of the district through branding.


LISC economic development strategy compliments Detroit Future City’s approach to evaluating underutilized industrial corridors in Detroit and exploring possibilities for adaptive reuse. LISC provided support to Detroit Future City to engage SmithGroup as a consultant to develop the Milwaukee Junction Framework that interviewed business owners, stakeholders and developers in the area to determine the district’s strengths and areas of growth.

The Dodge Building, located in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood
The Dodge Building, located in the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood

In Detroit, Milwaukee Junction serves as the pilot district for the LISC economic development districting strategy. Vanguard Community Development Corporation will serve as the district manager – engagement activities are underway with the first meeting in a Business Roundtable series sponsored by DTE that was held June 3, attended by over 50 local businesses and stakeholders. At Thursday’s launch, LISC will be announcing a placemaking grant to Vanguard to help jump start the development of “Black Bottom Park”, a new green space and outdoor entertainment space to elevate the rich cultural heritage of music and entrepreneurship throughout the historic North End and Milwaukee Junction. The park is located on the corner of Hastings and E. Grand Boulevard and is adjacent to the Vanguard headquarters and incubator space.

“LISC is excited about the momentum in Milwaukee Junction with existing businesses and cultural organizations. The combination of the framework and the district manager can ensure that the creative economy and small businesses can continue to thrive. We hope that this districting model can support, attract new local businesses and promote economic growth in other Detroit neighborhoods.”
— Tahirih Ziegler, Executive Director of Detroit LISC.

The Framework launch will be held Thursday, June 13 at 4:00 pm at Vanguard Community Development Corporation, 2795 E. Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48211, followed by a reception showcasing potential projects in Milwaukee Junction. The reception will also include complimentary mini-tours to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant that will highlight the automotive heritage in Milwaukee Junction. To RSVP, please contact Stephanie Inson, Detroit LISC Program Officer at

About LISC

LISC, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, is a national nonprofit organization that works to strengthen neighborhoods through affordable housing, better education, health, safety and economic growth. LISC has more than 27 years of experience working as a catalyst for community reinvestment in Detroit. It helps resident-led, community-based development organizations transform distressed neighborhoods into health places to live, work, worship, do business and raise families. Since 1990, Detroit LISC has invested over $245 million which has leveraged $1.2 billion in revitalization efforts in Detroit, financing the creation of over 6,200 units of affordable housing and the development of over 2.9 million square feet of commercial, retail and community space.