Lower Eastside Action Plan


Like most of Detroit, the Lower Eastside experienced population loss that led to property disinvestment and structure demolition. Today, opportunity abounds in remaining active neighborhoods and swaths of open space. The desire to improve quality of life through strong neighborhoods, and to transform vacant land into places that stabilize those neighborhoods, gave shape to the Lower Eastside Action Plan (LEAP). Created by Eastside Community Network, in collaboration with residents and technical advisors, LEAP is a community-driven response and award-winning plan that engages residents in a process of transforming open space and stabilizing neighborhoods.

The LEAP planning process was initiated in 2009 through community group discussions and stakeholder meetings, and Community Development Advocates Detroit (CDAD) joined the process in 2010. Phase I of LEAP was published in January 2012, followed by Phase II in October 2012, which shifted the northern boundary of the LEAP area from Warren Avenue to Interstate 94. LEAP engaged over 5,300 residents in envisioning a future for the Lower Eastside by repurposing vacant land in coordination with strengthening neighborhoods.


Learn more about the full LEAP planning process at


Phase III


By 2017, neighborhood needs and conditions had changed, with vacant land increasing and some housing markets strengthening. Many projects and policies proposed in Phases I and II had been implemented. ECN realized that these changes and successes warranted an update to the plan: LEAP Phase III. This plan contributes to the spring and summer 2017 update by analyzing current conditions and offering strategies to strengthen the Chandler Park neighborhood and to transform open space throughout the LEAP area.

The LEAP Steering Committee engaged 450 residents in the Phase III planning process, while our Resident Outreach Corps reached over 16,100 houses through door-to-door canvassing to communicate LEAP activities. Through this process, we determined that Phase III of LEAP Implementation would focus on two goals: 1) Strengthening the Chandler Park Neighborhood and 2) Transforming Open Space.



acres of land
in the leap area


vacant lots



vacant lotS completed
or undergoing


Lots suitable for
open space transformation


Strengthening Chandler Park

Our Phase III goal to strengthen Chandler Park builds on LEAP Phases I and II - which sought to stabilize active residential and commercial districts in order to improve the quality of life. The LEAP Steering Committee saw an opportunity to reinforce Chandler Park as an active residential district.

Strengthening Chandler Park includes 2 guiding principles and 6 strategies.


Our strategies, projects and policies for Strengthening Chandler Park will be driven by 2 principles.

  • Relying on resident voice
  • Improving quality of life


Projects and policies for Strengthening Chandler Park fall within the following 6 strategies:

  1. Strengthen Neighborhood Organizations
  2. Encourage Green Stormwater Infrastructure
  3. Prevent Tax Foreclosure
  4. Reduce Blight
  5. Facilitate Home Repair
  6. Advocate for 20-Minute Neighborhood Designation



Transforming Open Space

LEAP Phase III aims to support land transformation and neighborhood stabilization. The open space portion of this plan proposes a systematic approach to transforming vacant land in a coordinated manner, based on historical and existing natural features. Our suggested projects are designed to accumulate over time to provide ecological benefits to the entire Lower Eastside. 

Transforming Open Space includes 2 guiding principles and 5 strategies.


Our strategies, projects and policies for Transforming Open Space will be driven by 2 principles.

  • Matching recommendations to natural features
  • Tailoring suggested interventions to density and planned investment


Projects and policies for Transforming Open Space will fall within the following 5 strategies:

  1. Generate Systems of Natural Areas
  2. Increase Green Stormwater Infrastructure
  3. Support Productive Uses
  4. Enhance Parks and Greenways
  5. Create Buffers


Leadership & Committees


Steering Committee

The LEAP Steering Committee monitors progress toward LEAP recommendations; oversees our various committees and work groups; approves project endorsements and LEAP Project Fund awards; ensures meaningful community engagement in implementation efforts; participates in LEAP policy and project advocacy; and ensures the inclusion of LEAP in Detroit's Master Plan of Policies and other official efforts.

Blight Advisory Committee

The Blight Advisory Committee works with ECN staff to monitor the development of the Blight Elimination Standards campaign; assist with the marketing and development of Beautification System Grants; advocate for deconstruction projects that adhere to our LEAP Blight Elimination Standards; and monitor community access to the Detroit Land Bank Authority Community Partnership Agreements, Clean & Green Program, and Side Lot Acquisition Programs.


LEAP Advisory Committee

The LEAP Advisory Committee provides oversight to the LEAP planning process and ensures that all committees and subcommittees follow LEAP charges.

Phase 3 Planning Committee

Introduced in September 2016, the LEAP Planning Committee is charged with evaluating broad trends, development needs, and opportunities in the LEAP area


Resident Outreach Corps

The Resident Outreach Corps (ROC) is a group of committed residents representing LEAP partner organizations who canvas the LEAP District.

Resident Outreach Corps goals

Raise Awareness
Ensure neighbors are informed and know how to actively engage in resolving issues impacting their quality of life.

Learn Resident Concerns
Actively listen to community concerns and make community leaders and decision-makers aware of resident needs.

Amplify Resident Voice
Ensure residents are engaged in decisions affecting their community.

Build Community Cohesion
Develop strong relationship with neighbors all across the LEAP District, ensuring our residents are informed, connected and empowered.

Develop Community Leaders
ROC participants gain leadership skills in organizing, surveying, and peer-to-peer education that further enhance their ability to act as catalysts for change in their neighborhoods.