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Detroit businesses vote to pay for supplement city services

Peter Martorano

Business owners in downtown Detroit voted this week to collectively contribute $4 million a year to keeping the downtown clean and safe.

The vote means a new Business Improvement Zone will be established downtown between the freeways and the Detroit River. Commercial property owners in the zone will pay an additional fee on top of their property taxes to pay for supplementary services.

“The trash will be picked up, the sidewalks will be swept and power-washed, landscaping flowers will be taken care of and planted,” said Bob Gregory, senior vice-president of the Downtown Detroit Partnership.  

Gregory said the money will also pay for “safety and hospitality ambassadors.” He says the zone will boost the local economy.

“There's now a ten-year, very sustainable program put in place that the property owners in our city approved that will ensure, really, for the long-term the beauty, and the maintenance, and the cleanliness of downtown Detroit,” he said.

Some local business owners have voluntarily contributed money to a similar fund since 2006. But this vote creates a dedicated improvement fund like those found in many other major cities.