Developers begin community input efforts for District Detroit, but some residents remain skeptical of plans

Plans for the newly proposed $1.5 million “District Detroit” development around downtown Detroit’s popular nightlife and sports venues are facing scrutiny and skepticism from residents who live in the neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed developments. The first wave of legally required community input efforts from the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan and Stephen Ross’ Related Companies took place just after Thanksgiving, giving residents the opportunity to weigh in and negotiate how the community should benefit from the plans. 

The “District Detroit” plans include proposed sites for hotels, office buildings, restaurants and housing. Developers hope to add six new buildings to Detroit’s skyline and renovate five other historic buildings over the next five years. One Detroit producer Will Glover sat down with BridgeDetroit reporter Malachi Barrett, who’s been following the proposed development plans, to get an update on how residents are feeling and the development’s impact on the community. 

Detroit Public Theatre presents Heather Raffo’s ‘Noura,’ an Iraqi American story of belonging

A new play by the Michigan-born and internationally renowned Iraqi American actor and playwright Heather Raffo has premiered as part of the Detroit Public Theatre’s eighth season and the theatre’s first season at its new, permanent home in Detroit. 

Heather Raffo’s play, “Noura,” tells the story of an Iraqi American woman named Noura and her family after fleeing their home in Iraq eight years prior. But, as the family gears up for a festive Christmas dinner in their New York home, the arrival of an unexpected visitor causes Noura to retrace their past and confront what they’ve left behind. The play runs at the Detroit Public Theatre through Dec. 18, 2022. 

One Detroit Arts & Culture producer Sarah Smith talked with Heather Raffo, who also acts as the lead role in “Noura,” actor Amanda Najor, who plays the character Maryam in the play, and Detroit Public Theatre Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Courtney Burkett about the production, its themes of family, marriage, motherhood and belonging, and the diverse story it tells. Plus, viewers can see snippets from a performance of the play. 

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