Duggan: Detroit continues recovery "from blight to beauty"
Detroit is bouncing back from “blight to beauty,” the city’s mayor said in his annual State of the City address Wednesday evening.
Mayor Mike Duggan gave his ninth such speech at Factory ZERO, a General Motors all-electric vehicle assembly plant on the city’s east side. He said Detroit continues to make a strong recovery from its 2013 municipal bankruptcy, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using his customary PowerPoint-style presentation, Duggan highlighted some of his administration’s major initiatives. He noted plans for some major new developments around the city, including a number of iconic but blighted industrial sites, such as the AMC Motors complex and the Packard Plant.
“We have had more construction in this city in the last year than we've had in half a century,” Duggan proclaimed.
Duggan also touted his administration’s massive, signature demolition program, which has now taken down 23,000 vacant homes across the city.
“We are two-thirds of the way through the abandoned houses in the city, and I expect in the next four years that we are either going to demolish or renovate every abandoned house,” he said. “We're going to every block. And if you're in a house and there's an abandoned house next to you, that's our priority to take down so that you can go to sleep at night.”
Duggan also noted that residential property values are climbing all over Detroit. He said that’s mostly good news for homeowners, but less so for renters. He said the city is developing a plan to ensure that every Detroiter facing eviction is represented by a lawyer, “So if your landlord is attempting to evict you unfairly, you will have protection. We are going to be conscious of every single resident in this city as we work toward recovery.” The city is also creating a website where Detroiters can easily find available affordable housing.
Duggan also touched on plans to improve the city’s beleaguered bus system, boost job training programs, and foster entrepreneurship. He also touted the fact that nearly nine years after Detroit filed for the nation’s largest-ever municipal bankruptcy, Moody’s boosted the city’s credit rating for the fifth time in seven years, “which is pretty much unheard of.”
Duggan acknowledged that the city has received a huge boost from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Detroit received more than $800 million dollars from the legislation, among the most of any city in the nation.