Sunday, February 24, 2013

Detroit Not Quite Dead Yet!

A central theme of Chad Selweski's column in the Macomb Daily is that the neighborhoods can be razed for new development.

Here's the link:

Chad makes many valid points in his column, but each one raises new questions.  Just who will enjoy all these new amenities?  The neighborhood residents will be gone, so who benefits from this re-engineering?  Tourists?   Tri-county residents who are afraid to be in Detroit neighborhoods after dark? Corporations and developers who will then build housing along the outskirts of Detroit?  I think not.

Also, Chad mistakenly labels Dave Bing as an "honorable" man.  An honorable man does not negotiate with 38 unions for four months, have his top people sign a tentative agreement resulting in nearly $180 million in concessions, and then walk way by not presenting that concession agreement to Detroit City do I know....I was there, for every negotiation session and my signature is the second on the actual concession agreement.

As a native Detroiter, I volunteer, and challenge Chad ( and a few of his editors), to a daytime and night-time tour of Detroit.  This notion, affecting nearly 40 percent of Detroit's landmass) of "Consolidating the shrinking population into successfully functioning clusters of neighborhoods and turning much of the city’s ruins into ponds, pathways, parks, gardens, orchards and urban farms" is romantic but not going to happen after this year's district elections.

Bribing people to move into Downtown Detroit by offering offsets to mortgages and lease payments is working well for those who want to live along the rail route being set up by Penske, Gilbert, Illitch, and a few others, but creating a safe zone within Detroit will eventually backfire.  I commend those men for investing in downtown Detroit, and they are surely looking for the best bang for their buck, but their plans do not include or benefit the majority of Detroit residents, who will not leave Detroit for southern Macomb County enclaves like East Pointe, Warren, Centerline and Roseville.  There are some who will say that a rising tide raises all boats, but carving out exclusive, safe, resourced enclaves in Detroit does nothing for the residents in neighborhoods where services are being cut.

At any rate,  I will wait for Chad's response to my offer for a personal tour of Detroit.  You can see a lot better by visiting the city or Detroit than you can from the comfort of your North Avenue desk.  Give me a call.


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