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February 8th, 2011
09:05 AM ET

Plan To Revitalize Detroit

Mayor Dave Bing has a plan to fight crime, and boost confidence in the safety of his city. He wants to get the city's police officers to abandon the suburbs, and move their families back inside city limits. So what's the incentive? How about a fully renovated home for just $1,000? It's a gambit by the mayor, who has said he welcomes all ideas for saving the city. So we wanted to know...How would you revitalize your city? Leave your comments below, and we'll share some of them on the air today.


Filed under: Ali Velshi • Anchors • CNN Newsroom
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Southgate Jo

    The problems that plague Detroit stem from the basic concept that everything will work out if ....If the fire department does their job...if the police department does their job....If EMS does their job...If the Detroit Public Schools manages to gain control of the schools. Like many things the "If" in the equasion is a mighty big "If."

    The real problem is that the police officers live away from the city because they know that the city is no longer in the hands of law and order. The fire department live away from the city because they know the place is dangerous enough without risking time off and their families to a life of bullets and drugs.

    The public visits the city for baseball games or a hockey game and then flees like a cockroach leaving a burning building. Safety is primary and there is no safety in Detroit. The city of Detroit is full of gangs and youthfull violence. The children are afraid to walk to school. They should be afraid with all the violence they face just getting to school. How many kids were shot last year just walking to school? One is too many but in Detroit it's a daily occurance. Guns are everywhere and there is no law enforcement to be seen. EMS refuses to answer calls. Police Don't answer calls for help. The fire department is so short of help and corrupt that they are lost ...And now you want cops and firemen to live in the city?

    Good luck with that Mayor Bing. If every other citizen in Detroit was a Police Officer...you would still be short of help. We're better off just evacuating the city and starting over. What is there now, isn't worth saving. It is corrupt, violent, destructive, and dangerous. Scrap it!

    February 8, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  2. David Thelen

    As they say in business, out of 200 ideas, 2 may be winners. The following are two ideas that may or may not be doable.
    1) As they say, if you are given lemons (unemployment), make lemonade (take advantage of extra time.)
    Can Detroit be transformed as a new training city for the whole person? Many people may be overweight, be a smoker, or be out of shape, as well as unemployed. Living up North is not bad 3 seasons of the year. Perhaps people may not only get training for the new jobs of tomorrow, they may utilize health facilities and classes to get healthy once again. Detroit could be transformed into a “college campus downtown” for the whole person. Many of the empty buildings could be transformed into classes for jobs retraining and for health. If we are going to spend for type-2 diabetes care anyway. It would make sense to invest in wellness (get people to lose weight) to reduce these costs. Perhaps every dollar spent in wellness and jobs retraining could save more than this money in added health care, unemployment, and food stamps in the long run. This may just work. Then after a short stint living in Detroit, people may return to their home town healthier and with new jobs skills.
    2) Can Detroit be transformed into a port city to the world for alternative energy products? For example, many parts of the world gets really hot during the Summer. Many parts of the world do not have electricity.
    Perhaps as part of development for these parts of the world could include alternative (wind, solar) energy to power cooling centers for homes and villages. Towns dotting the Midwest (Ohio to Nebraska) could manufacture these products. Then they could be transported by rail to Detroit. Then shipped to the world through the port in Detroit. Jobs would be created at the port of Detroit.
    I do not know if these ideas are doable; however, someone reading this blog may build upon these concepts to something that is doable. Then we may reinvent Detroit into something better from such endeavors.

    February 8, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  3. Southgate Jo

    If Detroit was serious about taking back the city, it would act like it. Police Officers would be assigned to every scrap metal collection point in they city. They can scrutinize every seller to determain exactly where that metal came from. We need to stop people who steal live power lines for the copper!

    If you want to stop violence in the school system, frisk every student, every day. Assign so many Police Officers to the city, that the kids will actually be safer on the way home from school. Foot patrols are necessary but not with ten officers walking together in a clump (the only way they feel safe). The PO's need to walk with the kids...all the way home...every single day.

    We need to put people who steal power from the power company in jail, for a long period of time. The residents in the burbs are paying for the sins of the city. It's getting old. The city managers are just snickering under their breath at the people who steal power. It has almost become an accepted practice. Are you really trying to stop this Mayor Bing?

    We need to eliminate gangs. The PO's need to jump on every gang that forms and do so in a harsh and strict manner. We need to force the thugs into a situation where they will lose every time! No mercy for those who commit acts of violence.

    We need to enlist federal officers to keep the politicians honest. We need full time FBI Agents who make it their mission in life to prosecute and convict politicians who violate the law in even the most miniscule law.

    We need to stop auto theft. There have been attempts by big sports to bring teams to downtown Detroit. How can you do this if your fans stand a high chance of losing their cars when they go to a game. Or being robbed at gun or knife point after the game, while walking to the car that was just stolen?

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that when a house has reached a point in it's lifetime when it needs to be torn down. When it's beyond fixing. When it becomes a threat to the safety to those around it ....then ya rip it down, and build a new one. BINGO ....!!! or is that Bing go .....

    February 8, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  4. Pat Benedict

    Our Historic neighborhood is working with the city of Saint Joseph,MO to help restore our historic neighborhood trough a Midtown long range strategic planning. It is a twenty year plan for Historic district improvements and down town re-vitalization.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  5. Riley, Seattle

    I'd initiate a program of weekend bees, like early pioneer days when neighbors got together for barn-raisings and harvests. Litter removal, graffiti paint-overs and pot hole filling would get the program started, then as it took flight It could bee-come whatever it could bee.

    February 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  6. Rick

    I would tear down all the vacated, unrecoverable homes in all major cities and tun them into farm land, creating a green urban environment and giving the unemployed jobs as farmers selling their goods. It's both practical and environmentally sound. Inner city farms is the future.

    February 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Amie S

    Guns for scholarships for high school students. If you turn in a gun, you get a scholarship to school.

    Philadelphia, PA

    February 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  8. JJ

    Who is going to provide the oversight to city officials do not illegally benefit from this program, either by getting involved in the property or by getting kickbacks from contractors in exchange for being selected for the rehabs?

    February 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  9. JT

    I like David Thelen's idea with the Port of Detroit. There are many of us from Michigan living in other States (California for example) who would like to be a part of the revitalization of Detroit and the State of Michigan. If there was a way to gain access to information on the Port of Detroit (the 3rd largest steel handling Port in America) and how to get product to the Port and Warehouse it for distribution and then the distribution chain available (rail, truck, etc.) - I believe in Detroit and want to help bring back the reputation as a place for businesses to thrive and develop.

    February 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  10. ron LANG

    this is a good first start. there has to be a very strict eye on the officials that are responsible for the management of the program. todays politicians have a tendency of being more corrupt than in the past. they want to feather their own nests & public be dammed.

    February 14, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  11. Helene Kreniske

    My support and encouragement go out to Mayor Bing and all those who serve the City of Detroit. I am from NYC and remember the 70's. I remember when the idea of an outdoor cafe on the Lower East Side was simply not going to go over. Things can be reclaimed and can come back. It takes time. Unfortunately, I am not in the US at the moment. I say 'unfortunately' because I can see, like many who have responded, that things are broken. Our leadership has inherited complex problems and there are no easy fixes. Life goes on and you look back and say, 'this was our American experience?" I am in Europe and it is beautiful-in some spots. But you have to believe me when I say, it's no better here. There are just different problems. THE BEST THING ABOUT AMERICA IS ITS PEOPLE. Europeans are fascinated by us. They envy our energy; our spirit. We are often losing our temper and our minds and patience but we never stop trying. The police and fire departments that operate in the city of Detroit should be thanked in small ways, everyday, for never giving up. That said. Detroit has tremendous potential. I understand there's a deficit. But change has got to come to every American city if they are going to be relevant in the 21st century. Detroit's roots are in its Industrial age. Stop lamenting what has been over! It's gone. Use that positioning as the springboard to the 21st. Shrink the size of the city. Enlist idle hands and ask them to commit to doing more daily to invest. It's that same energy and spirit. That is what is so valuable. When the rest of the world sees us give in to negative banter, they insult and criticize BUT we surprise ourselves by rising simply because we have to, they stand back and step off in total befuddlement! Give the people of Detroit a chance to get involved and take ownership and become 'founders' for the cities next identity. Money is a huge problem but getting creative ideas -as many as possible – is key. Getting people to think differently. In the US, you have the ability, like nowhere else, to name the way you want to see your destiny. NO one said it would be easy. Turn off 'Bewitched' because it doesn't happen just by snapping the fingers! Changing Detroit will require stewardship and constant steams of a resource more valuable than currency. It will require CREATIVITY PROBLEM-SOLVING. Before the marketing and business plans, it will require people to connect to their passion for a city that has seen better days. Those people are out there. Many are looking for purpose. THEY ARE AMERICANS

    February 23, 2011 at 4:05 am |
  12. Joann Brown

    Go CNN! You have my vote on your comments. Detroit sucks – bottom line. There is NO comeback, it will always be the same, no matter what.
    We are pulling our business out of the City of Detroit, which brought alot of money to the City.

    Everyday we hear on the T.V. that there was a shooting, murder, rape, etc. We are beyond numb – how sad huh?

    We are moving our home, family and business out of the Wayne County area and State of Michigan!

    Last one, please turn the lights out.

    March 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  13. William Powell III

    The city of Detroit,in my eyes, the greatest city on the planet. The place where pride was born and built. But the years past has taken it's toll on my beloved city. If I had my way.....I would hire every able bodied citizen, regardless of past or criminal history. The citizens would rebuild THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS AND STREETS. The citizens would be included in on all future projects bettering the city and surrounding suburbs. I would have it to the point where Detroit is a self-sustaining city(like an ant colony or bee hive). Students would go to school year around. Teachers would be paid no less than 60K a year to start. All schools with in the city of Detroit will have top-notch education programs which will enable our children to OWN business after graduating college. therefore bringing more jobs back to the city.

    March 13, 2013 at 1:00 am |

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