Expectations are, in many circles, that small businesses and entrepreneurs will assume a meaningful role in Detroit’s financial and economic recovery. To explore that future, the Wayne State University Law School is hosting a lunchtime discussion today titled “Detroit’s Renaissance: The Intersection Between Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and the Law” in a free event.
Panelists are Gabe Karp, a partner in Detroit Venture Partners, Josh Linkner, managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners and founder of ePrize, Gary Torgow, chairman of Talmer Bankcorp, and Eric Wiliams, director of the Program for Entrepreneurship and Business Law at Wayne State.
Entrepreneurship, Williams says, is as much an attitude as a type of enterprise. And it’s an attitude that could be fostered in Detroit’s future of building back, being willing to innovate, and ignoring the status quo to find what works. All of that will be explored today.
“The discussion is going to be what that would look like and what is in place to facilitate that and what needs to be in place,” Williams says. “Entrepreneurs have played and will continue to play a large role in Detroit’s recovery. We’ll discuss what can be done, what should be done to make sure they’re able to play that role and that everyone is able to participate.”
More information is available here.
Oakland County’s younger Jewish population increasingly sees Detroit differently than the older generation, says Arthur Horwitz, publisher of The Jewish News. The newspaper, through the New Michigan Media group, is part of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative and its effort to comprehensively report on the city’s historic bankruptcy. Horwitz says the vast majority of Oakland County’s roughly 72,000 Jewish residents have close ties to the city. Read how in this article published in his newspaper.
London’s The Guardian newspaper asks “Why does anyone still live in Detroit?” in an article published last week and authored by a native Detroiter now living in New York.
In the first five paragraphs, the article manages to pack in descriptions of the city’s problems with crime, police response, blight, population decline, lack of mass transit, crumbling roads and water infrastructure, lack of grocery stores and retail, and the difficulty of non-motorized transportation.
Whew. That’s an impressive litany of woes jammed into the top of an article, packaged between photos of a tagged abandoned house and a party store’s outside wall advertising liquor, lotto and check cashing.
In the remaining 2,100 words of the piece there is one paragraph devoted to Mayor Mike Duggan’s campaign promises, the city charter change to council elections by district and a description of how Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has “made blight removal and service provision a priority.” One subsequent paragraph summarizes foundation dollars and other private contributions that could provide some support for improvements. Another few paragraphs describe the goals and challenges of the Detroit Future City plan.
The ‘Live in Osborn’ effort gets some rhetorical love in the article, with a description of improvements planned in that east side neighborhood. The blight removal efforts are as “the easiest answer, though not necessarily the best.”
But the article’s conclusion?
“Perhaps Detroit needs a hero to battle its hydra.”
As part of its “Grits and Grassroots” series, the Michigan Citizen newspaper is presenting a breakfast discussion titled “Two Detroits? Gentrification” on Saturday, April 26.
Scheduled speakers are Phil Cooley, of Slows Bar-B-Q and Ponyride, Lauren Hood, of Loveland Technologies and Deep Dive Detroit, Khary “WAE” Frazier, hip hop artist and Detroit advocate, George N’amdi, of The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and Kirk Mayes, deputy group executive, Jobs and Economies, City of Detroit.
Breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. with the panel starting at 9 a.m. at the Jam Handy, 2900 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 313-963-8282 or visit www.michigancitizen.com.
Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes today approved a $120 million loan for the city of Detroit to fund “quality of life” services.
The city, complying with procedure to show how it would use the funds, last week outlined how it would spend up to $179 million on such efforts. Police, blight removal, and fire services are the top of the list.
“The city is service delivery insolvent. It is not providing services to meet the basic needs of its citizens, and this loan will provide the city with the means to begin to make up that deficit,” Judge Rhodes said during court proceedings.”It’s important and urgent to the city to do that. The city recognized that importance and that urgency, and the time to begin is now.”
Plans for more cops and firefighters, vehicles for them, additional money for park upgrades and blight removal, city employee training and several technology upgrades. That’s what the city proposes if a $120 million loan is approved, according to a court filing Friday.
The city listed $179 million in near-term investment needs for its beleaguered public safety, antiquated record-keeping systems and blight removal in response to creditor complaints that Detroit wasn’t detailing how it would spend the fresh debt from London-based Barclays, which must be approved by Judge Steven Rhodes.
In the court filing (see below for document), the city proposed how it would use the loan proceeds, including:
- $36.2 million for the police department, specifically for fleet vehicles, construction of new precincts and a training facility, IT upgrades, hiring and equipment purchases;
- $35.6 million for residential blight removal;
- $28.5 million for the fire department including vehicle purchase and maintenance, facility repairs and maintenance, IT upgrades and hiring;
- $25.4 million to the finance department for hiring and IT upgrades;
- $24.8 million for the general services department to be used for park upgrades and ground maintenance fleet replacement, citywide facility improvements, and repairs and increased staffing;
- $5.1 million to demolish the Herman Kiefer building;
- $4.5 million for facility consolidation and hiring in the planning and development department;
- $3.4 million for city employee training;
- $2.7 million for transportation facility improvements and service costs;
- $3.2 million for recreation facilities repair and maintenance, and parks and recreation facility improvements;
- $1.6 million for more legal staff;
- $800,000 for the elections department to cover deferred maintenance and improvements;
- $600,000 for human resources staff.