Detroit Dashes Hope of a Comeback - and Switches to Survival Mode

Jay Maxwell By Jay Maxwell, 20th Feb 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>World


What we know about the global financial crisis is that we don't know very much. - Paul Samuelson

A City in Crisis

Nick Carey reports for Reuters: DETROIT - Just how many people are able to envision a city with open space that dwarfs the size of Paris, where the landscape is adorned with hardwood trees and vegetable gardens, and neighbors have boundless areas to spread their wings. It would sound so pastoral, if I was not alluding to Detroit. The boundless space is largely deserted land, the absence of neighbors the result of a harsh exodus, the planting the work of residents endeavoring to prevent the proliferation of the blight. America embraces a dramatic comeback, but Detroit citizens are pragmatic people. For many residents, the focus is on salvaging what remains of a once splendid city. Throughout its long descent, Detroit has explored ways to return to its former glory a city that was home to 1.8 million people, founding its hopes on stupendous plans for the automotive industry or casinos. With less than one million people left, aspirations are now centered on making less populated neighborhoods viable and rezoning land, perhaps for urban farming. Where the financial crippled city can not provide, grassroots groups and investors help augment the shortfall.

The Challenge of Attracting New Neighbors

It has become everyone's dream to attract new neighbors, but there is little incentive for them to locate there. The dismal decline in population is one of Detroit's major problems. Mayor Dave Bing, devised a planning blueprint that accounts for six hundred thousand residents. The primary objective of the plan is to revamp the economy and use empty space. The Kresge Foundation, the brainchild of a Detroit family anchored to retail giant Kmart, has promised $150 million toward the project. It is believed to be the most viable plan the city has ever had. Neighborhood organizations are contributing to the effort, which accentuates a new energy never witnessed at the grassroots level before. Though diminished job opportunities remains the heart of the city's problems, Detroit's downtown is showing symptoms of a business revival spearheaded by mortgage lender Quicken Loans, whose owner and fellow business leaders are financing all but $25 million of a $140 million streetcar line. Still, unemployment is unyielding and lingering around 18 percent, more than twice the rate for the country as a whole.

The Reformation of a Struggling City

The reformation of a struggling city appears to be an insurmountable task. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, asserts that the city's finances are so fragile, that he may soon appoint an emergency financial manager to take over Detroit's accounts. Such a manager would be poised to recommend that the city file for bankruptcy, which would be the largest ever Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in the United States. In a desperate attempt to out maneuver destiny, the Bing administration has sliced spending, laid off city employees, and cut wages and benefits for the rest. Bing says cash flow is now stable, but Detroit needs investment by the state to foster growth. Governor Snyder says Detroit's immediate problem is its finances and emphasizes that he wants to direct investments on transportation and other projects that will invigorate the local economy. He further stated that he did not want to overlook the people in the neighborhoods. Finally, the city can devise all sorts of plans but the real challenge lies with stemming the mass exodus - and that is easier said than done.

Tags

Detroit, Detroit News, Detroits Decline, Detroits Economy, Detroits Financial Crisis

Meet the author

author avatar Jay Maxwell


I am endeavoring to become a freelance article writer for now. Recent studies include a freelance writer's article and blog course offered by Growth Education.

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