Detroit – some of you may not know the anguish that Detroit went through in the last 10 years. First a recession like no other caused heartbreak, job losses and in 2008 the Obama Adminstration stepped in to provide financial assistance to Chrysler and GM who were filing for bankruptcy. This was the beginning…
On the 18th of July 2013 the city – which was the largest municipal and only city in the history of US to file for bankruptcy. After bad management and a car manufacturing industry that was diminishing from the area known as Motor City…the town crumbled. The city literally had building after building empty. Person after person – unemployed. Home after home – spray painted on the front with an X for “demolition…”
Those from Detroit were packing up bags and moving away – a lot to Cleveland and Chicago. But now in 2019 home by home is starting to be refurbished and residents moving back – to create a thriving community (in some areas that is). The checkouts in Whole Foods (supermarket) are queued. A hustle and bustle can be felt in the area. But this was not an easy process to get here. It took time. It took hard work and a refocus. But to give you an idea of the disaster – in 2014 15,000 homes had water cut off to their homes due to unpaid bills. This resulted in immediate problems with really the city having no investment and employment opportunities.
In 2018 the city (very cleverly) created a press day 5 years after was reported to be “the city no one ever knew could bounce back…” And so now in 2019 it’s a city that’s feet are standing solid. Slowly the devastation is disappearing. The houses are reappearing. As I walk around the most amazing thing is the venues that are appearing – and busy. Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, Ford Field and Little Caesers Arena all within a 2km radius of each other. I see culture, sport and music coming back and allowing people to have options for socializing. People have reasons now to be in this city and love it. I met with people from the events industry and I loved it. They gave me more than just “information” it was passion for Detroit and there industry.
In Detroit I was given a chance with friends I had made in LA to see a different side city. I get to see where basketball used to be played in courts where the fences lie abandoned on the side of the walkway. Former plots of homes sit – alone. Land overgrown. Grass growing similar to opportunities of city. But sometimes at night the boarded up homes would light up. I would see people coming through boarding at the back. Locals were still living in conditions that major cities should never really – be suggested or exist.
Preparing this blog I thought about – what is it I am trying to say. Well, for me now after experiencing 62 locations this is a city that has went as low as it can go and it has the determination to be successful again. The message is clear to walk through the darkness does not mean you are not alone. This city is not alone. Light is coming. I feel and can hear the buzz. The buzz is all over. Detroit need to keep the momentum – its not about the current investment its about the future impact and creative thinking.
Thanks Detroit – I will be back…