The hottest ticket in town on a cold winter night last week was to Mayor Mike Duggan’s 10th State of the City address. No doubt, the demand was boosted by the opportunity to get a glimpse of the renovations undertaken by the Ford Motor Company to restore the grandeur of the Michigan Central Station.
Attendees were limited in what they could see of the station by black draperies which saved the big reveal for the formal opening ceremonies sometime later this year. Nonetheless, the mayor did not miss the opportunity to point out that the historic train station was once slated for demolition and became the symbol of Detroit’s decline. He noted that Michigan Central was preserved by agreements between his administration and the previous owner and now Ford and will soon symbolize Detroit’s leadership in modern mobility and innovation.
As for the mayor’s address, he celebrated the fact that there are now more housing rehab projects underway across the city than demolitions. And after a ten-year battle to stabilize the city’s housing stock Detroit has once again tipped the scales in favor of a majority of households who are homeowners as opposed to renters.
Mayor Duggan defended the use of financial incentives needed for the city of Detroit to compete with neighboring communities as well as for investments in the global marketplace. He argued that incentives have repeatedly made the difference between securing investments by developers in manufacturing and housing developments where only unproductive and abandoned fields and parking lots once stood.
The Mayor gave credit to his partners on the Detroit City Council for their innovative ideas and commitment to moving the city forward. He highlighted many of the city’s new neighborhood programs and services which were first proposed by Councilmembers and have since been adopted by the Administration including the recently announced Jumpstart Job Training Program and the Neighborhood Beautification Program.
Mayor Duggan’s State of the City included several plans to improve Detroit’s neighborhoods. Those plans include:
- Clearing another 1,000 alleys in 2023
- Doubling DPW cleanups to remove garbage dumped in neighborhoods
- Replacing 70,000 broken sidewalk slabs this year, starting with schools, parks, and churches
- Expanding the Neighborhood Beautification Program to improve Land Bank properties with grants ranging from $500-15,000 (deadline to apply is March 17)
- Helping non-profit organizations renovate abandoned houses for low-income families
- Providing legal help for homeowners to transfer titles to heirs
- Replacing the roofs for 2,000 low-income seniors and disabled residents through Renew Detroit
- Distributing 90,000 flowers for neighborhood planting during Motor City Makeover
- Transforming 27 miles of Detroit’s worst dumping sites into the new Joe Louis Greenway
- A new community violence intervention program called ShotStoppers
To watch the full speech and review the Mayor’s PowerPoint presentation, go to detroitmi.gov/stateofthecity.