By Brittany Hutson
Say what you will about Detroit but like a phoenix, the city is determined to arise from the ashes that have plagued them. Mayor Dave Bing announced this week that he will begin using incentives next spring to concentrate residents in at least seven to nine areas that will serve as population centers in the city. This plan to consolidate neighborhoods is an extension of the Detroit Works Project, a campaign that calls on everyone who cares about the city to help create its future.
According to the Detroit Free Press, mayoral spokeswoman Karen Dumas said the city has not yet decided what economic incentives will be offered, but the opportunity for a better life in a neighborhood with improved services should by itself be considered an incentive.
Bing told the Free Press, “we’re going to encourage them to move and put themselves in a better situation…they are much better off moving into a more dense area so that we can provide them with the services they need: that would be water, sewer, lighting, public safety—all of that.”
Bing’s administration will identify which neighborhoods will be targeted for investment in the spring. The availability of strong schools, nonprofits, churches, parks, community development organizations and medical centers—in addition to housing stock and income—will be worked out with the neighborhood plan.
The key to the plan’s success is engaging residents such as Doris Anthony, who lives in southeast Detroit and is surrounded by abandoned houses, dead trees and fires. She told the Free Press that she supports the mayor’s plan to encourage residents to move to more populated areas.
To attract residents, the city is seeking federal housing grants to rehabilitate homes, particularly for police, fire and other public safety officers. Incentives for public safety officials to move back will consist of lease-to-own programs, mortgage and financial assistance, grants and loans for rehabilitation, and free or reduced-priced homes.