Reinventing Detroit: An earful for Mayor Bing
Mayor Dave Bing wants suggestions for what to include in a new plan â€” the Detroit Works Project â€” to reinvent the city, and heâ€™s asking people for ideas. But you have to pity the city staffers who are sorting through the responses that gushed from the crowd of hundreds Thursday evening at American Serbian Memorial Hall on the cityâ€™s east side in the second of five slated forums. Another is set for over the weekend and two more next week.
For example, when a speaker said police should ticket trash dumpers instead of speeders, they wrote down â€śincreased enforcement of blightâ€ť on easel-mounted notepads.
When a speaker asked where money for any projects would come from, meeting leader Karla Henderson, the city’s group executive of planning and facilities, discussed federal monies that could be available.
When a speaker complained that residents in the past had been involved in community revitalization strategies that went nowhere, Henderson said representatives from different city departments â€” police, fire, trash collection, public works â€” were also helping develop this plan. â€śThe people who actually have to do the work are at the table,â€ť she said. â€śAt every step of this planning process we have our eye on implementation.â€ť
Mainly speakers wanted to give Bing and the other administrators on hand an earful about whatâ€™s wrong with the city now.
Bing and several other city administrators stressed at the Sept. 16 forum that there is no plan now, and the current forums are just one part of helping Bing and a 55-member advisory panel developÂ a â€śroadmap of the futureâ€ť to guide housing, investment and development decisions to make Detroitâ€™s 139-square miles economically viable, safe and sustainable. Itâ€™s expected that there will ultimately be dozens of meetings over an 18-month planning process.
â€śIâ€™m impressed that so many people are getting engaged,â€ť Bing said when it was all over. â€śI think we get engaged for a lot of reasons. Some people are angry, I understand that. Some people are frustrated. I understand that. And then weâ€™ve got a lot of people that are here because theyâ€™re concerned and want to help. They want a part of what this city will look like.â€ť
And they know a lot about what they donâ€™t want DetroitÂ to look like.
First in a series on the city of Detroitâ€™s effort to forge a new future.