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Kickin' It In Woodbridge

This historic Detroit neighborhood's beautiful homes and strong sense of community make it an attractive place for a diverse mix of people

Located down Warren Avenue from bustling Midtown and Wayne State University's campus is a quieter neighborhood full of older homes and lush green yards.

"Woodbridge is kind of like a hidden jewel in the city of Detroit," says Kenneth Cockrel Jr., longtime Detroit City Council member, former council president and former interim mayor of Detroit. Cockrel, who has lived in the Woodbridge neighborhood for about 22 years, says one of the reasons he likes the neighborhood is because of the many historic homes, which he calls "architectural gems."

Cockrel says that the Woodbridge neighborhood itself hasn't changed much over the years, but he notes "what has been good to see is that the area around us has changed and has changed for the better." He says when he first moved into the area with his wife, many of the nearby amenities, like Woodbridge Pub, didn't exist.

Being a stone's throw away from the cultural center of museums in Midtown and a few minutes' drive from downtown is something Cockrel says he's enjoyed.

Woodbridge is also unique because of its residents.

"It's a very diverse, funky kind of neighborhood," Cockrel says. "It's diverse ethnically and it's diverse economically."

When it comes to security, Woodbridge is policed by WSU Police Department, which keeps the residents safe through various initiatives. WSUPD Chief of Police Anthony Holt says it "provides complete service" in the neighborhood and has cars "strictly assigned to Woodbridge."

WSUPD has partnered with the university's Center for Urban Studies to form a "bike watch" for the area, which consists of a group of volunteers on bikes with radios who keep an eye out in the neighborhood.

"Visibility kind of helps to ward off anything before it comes," he says of having eyes, ears and cars in the neighborhood.

Twice a week, Holt also holds what's called a CompStat meeting to assess the crime in the Midtown area. Since the meetings started, he says he's seen a 40-50 percent reduction in crime in the Midtown area, which includes Woodbridge.

Fast Facts

  • The Location: Most of Woodbridge is located off of Trumbull Street between Grand River Avenue and the Edsel Ford Freeway.
  • The History: In 1980, the Woodbridge neighborhood was "recognized by the National Register of Historic Places," according to the Detroit Historical Society.
  • The Namesake: The neighborhood is named after William Woodbridge, who was Michigan's governor from 1840-41. He owned a farm in this area and much of the neighborhood was built on that land, the Detroit Historical Society notes.
     

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