CEO: Balduck Park Improvements Key to Detroit Neighborhood Revitalization

Daniel J. Loepp

| 3 min read

Daniel J. Loepp is President and Chief Executive Off...

One of my proudest accomplishments as President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been our company’s commitment to the communities we serve. As part of our historic social mission, we set out to improve the health and well-being of all Michiganders. I’m especially proud of our work in Detroit and the East Warren/Cadieux neighborhood — the very place I grew up.
In 2019, we pledged $5 million to Mayor Mike Duggan’s Strategic Neighborhood Fund (SNF) and Affordable Housing Leverage Fund, setting forward on a path of revitalization and community-building for East Warren/Cadieux and the Cornerstone, East English Village and Morningside neighborhoods. Over the past five years, BCBSM has engaged with residents, local stakeholders and business owners on how to support their needs as construction projects and streetscape improvements through the City of Detroit moved forward. Access to care has also been an important focus for us, bringing primary care for seniors and hosting vaccination clinics directly in the neighborhood to support residents with their health needs.
A milestone in our collaboration occurred March 25, when we joined Mayor Duggan, residents and community partners to celebrate the completion of upgrades at Balduck Park, the community’s recreational epicenter. The Balduck Park project was a massive undertaking for the city that saw $1.5 million in improvements made utilizing SNF funding and President Biden’s American Rescue Act. The results have generated great enthusiasm. Important park infrastructure has been added and enhanced, like walkways, a picnic shelter and dog park. The playground has been expanded. The popular sledding destination known as Community Hill — a place where I spent many snowy days as a child— has been enhanced with planted trees and new landscaping. Plus, crucial infrastructure improvements have been made to address chronic flooding issues.
Today, Balduck Park stands as a gleaming year-round recreational destination for families. A variety of offerings are now available through our partnership with local organization Eagle Sports Club, including soccer and baseball leagues that offer youth more opportunities to stay active and enrich their lives through teamwork and sportsmanship, important traits for future success in the classroom and beyond.
The improvements of Balduck Park follow an influx of additional redevelopment projects along the East Warren corridor, which include a restored streetscape with bike paths and walkable spaces, locally owned businesses adding storefronts, and commercial/mixed-use development projects underway that will house, gather and connect more residents.
It’s been a delight to see the neighborhood, city and community partners – including many BCBSM employees — come together to add vibrancy to the East Warren/Cadieux neighborhood. This is just one example of how we fulfill our social mission, which is a historic commitment to making high-quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone and improving the health of the people of our state. Step by step, we are helping families thrive and achieve brighter futures in a healthier, vibrant community.
Daniel J. Loepp is president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
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Photo credit: The City of Detroit
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