In October, 2004, Mildred Hunt Robbins and Tommie E. Robbins, Jr., telephoned their neighbors with the hope of addressing community issues on West Grand Boulevard.  The first call to Henry Ford Hospital was directed to Security Officer, Captain John Weigle, and resulted in the scheduling of the first meeting of what would become the West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation registered with the Internal Revenue Service on June 13, 2005.  The founding meeting was hosted by HFH in the Clara Ford Pavilion on October 28, 2004.  The meeting ended with a consensus that our shared concerns would best be addressed through cohesive community action.

Since then, the WGBC has met on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 2:30 p.m.  Our monthly meetings are hosted by WGBC Members on a rotating basis.

 Mission

To partner with neighbors and supporters to uplift and stabilize our community at the highest level of safety and aesthetic appeal, and to enhance and support good stewardship of natural resources.

Vision

To initiate, implement and foster community development through programs and projects that create and support safety and beautification using low-impact and sustainable infrastructure, landscape improvements and eco-friendly stormwater management strategies that incorporate public art, and opportunities for education and job training.

Prominent among WGBC members with a long history of service in Detroit is James H. Cole Home for Funerals, a Historically Black Business whose W. Grand Blvd. location has been designated by the City of Detroit as a Historic Site.  Here is their story:

In 1919, James H. Cole, Sr. launched an Undertaking business on the lower east side of Detroit on St. Aubin, in an area commonly known as the “Black Bottom.”

Founded on the family’s successful investments in real estate and an extensive livery stable, the move into undertaking and funeral services proved to be a natural fit for James H. Cole Sr. and his future generations.

Building on the family’s strong foundation of compassion and service to the community, the business grew and moved several times over the next several decades – first to 446 East Warren in the early 1930s – before settling into its final location on West Grand Boulevard in 1962. In June of 1982, due to business growth, the West Grand office was moved next door to its current flagship site at 2624 West Grand Boulevard.

The company has addressed the need for funeral services in Detroit’s northwest neighborhoods with the addition of a second chapel at Puritan and Schaefer.

By the early 1950s, James H. Cole, was joined by his son – James H. Cole, Jr. – who became a licensed mortician and under the direction of James Jr., the business thrived and continued to set the standard for funeral service in the Detroit community. Karla M. Cole Green, the youngest daughter of James H. Cole, Jr., began working at the funeral home in 1975, graduated from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and became a licensed mortician in 1979.

Karla continued to steer the direction of the business and strengthen its place as a Detroit landmark in funeral service. Karla’s son, Antonio Green, received his undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University and continued the family’s historic legacy earning his license of Mortuary Science from Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 2007. He initiated the fourth generation to continue the Cole family’s history of service to the Detroit community. Joining him in his dedication to the family’s legacy, Karla’s youngest son, Brice Green, began working for the company in 2007 as the headstone counselor. By launching this venture it initiated a new service to the family’s business. After finishing his Pre-Mortuary Science studies at Eastern Michigan University, he followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, James H. Cole, Jr., by graduating from Wayne State University’s School of Mortuary Science in 2013.

Today, James H. Cole Home for Funerals is the oldest Black-owned funeral home in the city of Detroit.

 

The architecture students at Lawrence Tech Detroit Studio, in collaboration with the WGBC, wish to create a network of multi-purpose bike parks where the rich history of West End Detroit will be mapped, narrated and illustrated to highlight the local culture that produced greats like Aretha Franklin, Willie Horton, and the artists who created the Motown Sound.
We received a challenge grant from the Knight Foundation, which will double our funds for the project if we can raise $10,000 by April 30, 2017! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A tribute to Freshwater Future, an organization dedicated to healing and fostering our waters and a great friend to WGBC.

 

A Freshwater Future Haiku
                                              
Freshwater future
is the birthright of our heirs,
and ours to secure.
© Mildred Hunt Phelps 

 

Henry Ford Health System has purchased the Comerica branch office on W. Grand Blvd. and Sterling St., in the Northwestern Goldberg neighborhood of our West End Detroit (WEdetroit) community.  The branch will make an interim move to the Fisher Bldg. before a final move to Third and W. Grand Blvd.  Click here to read the Comerica letter to their customers.  

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Thank You
WGBC wishes to thank its Supporting and Sustaining members:

Detroit Area Agency on Aging
Henry Ford Hospital

See a full list of our Member Organizations
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