By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
Last week, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing gave his State of the City address, commending many new projects and downplaying many bad things going on in the city.
What really stuck out from the address was the amount of projects that the city was going through in the next year and how many people are involved.emer
In what possibly was his last State of the City address, Bing thanked the citizens of Detroit for their commitment to the city.
In the first part of his speech, he mentioned the emergency financial manager, and how he hasn’t heard anything from the state on whether the city will receive one or not. It’s assumed the city will receive an EFM, considering the budget is in a huge deficit.
According to Bing, he and his staff have helped reduce the spending on the budget from $1.4 billion in 2009 to #1.1 billion for the fiscal year of 2013.
Although it may not look like much, it’s a start and hopefully will continue to get better as the days go on. One of the next things he touched on was the lights. Many of Detroit’s streetlights don’t work anymore and have the city is completely dark at night.
That type of situation can create criminal activity. Thankfully, during the speech, Bing announced that a proposal, called the Detroit Lighting Authority was backed by the state legislature, and $160 million would be poured into upgrading the near 100-year old lighting system.
Probably the biggest thing on the agenda, was transportation. According to Bing, the city has improved the bus system (DDOT), and text messages and cell phone apps have helped residents figure out when buses will arrive and depart stops.
Very important to Bing though, was public safety, as it should be. According to Bing, there was an overall decrease of crime by 3% in major crime categories. There is also a restructuring of the Detroit Police Department, led by current Chief of Police, Chester Logan.
More than 100 officers will be moving to the streets and criminal investigations, meaning 80% of the force will be on the streets, 15% investigating, and only 5% in the administrative sector of the department.
Also along the lines of public safety, the brand new Detroit Public Safety Headquarters will open later this year in the old MGM Grand Casino Hotel location on the west side of Downtown Detroit. Headquartered in the building will be the Detroit Police, Detroit Fire, EMS, the I.T. Department of Homeland Security and a Michigan State Police Forensic Crime Lab. It’s supposed to save the city $2.7 million dollars, according to Bing.
Along with public safety, the city will be tearing down more buildings, and have to date demolished 6,700 vacant homes in Detroit, just 4,000 shy of what Bing wants to accomplish by the end of the year.
On the list of being demolished, the Douglas-Brewster Project Towers just north of both Ford Field and Comerica Park, and west of Eastern Market in the Brush Park area neighborhood. When they are demolished later this year, Bing says, it will be prime location for residential and retail development.
The other huge project that was going on that was secretive lately was a two-block area east of Eastern Market that was being demolished over a two-week period. It was a public-private partnership that will help save the city money when tearing down the final 4,000 homes expected by the end of the year.
Finally, the M1 Rail, a light-rail project that will start at Hart Plaza and end in the New Center area will begin construction sometime this year. It’s a huge project that will start the process of bringing mass transit to the area.
Although he didn’t mention much of what was wrong with the city, which may or may not have been good, what he did mention was some great things happening in the city, propelling Detroit to greater and greater heights in short-term and long-term future of the city.
Chris Zadorozny is the Sports Editor for The Michigan Journal. He has contributed over 100 articles for the publication.
In addition to being our Michigan Football beat writer, Chris also contributes numerous articles devoted to Detroit. Numerous people from around the world have read from his two columns, Detroit: A City on the Rise and Motor City on the Move.Follow @Zads07