Detroit’s Fix-It Men: In Their Own Words
Jun. 29 2011 – 1:58 pm – Forbes.com
When we made the unorthodox decision to feature Detroit on the cover of Forbes’ list of the Best Places for Business, we knew there’d be some snickering and catcalls. This is a city, after all, that’s been beaten down for so long we’ve come to expect the insults.
But anybody who takes a moment to stop spewing outdated cliches about the city would see that Detroit right now really is a land of opportunity. The barriers to entry for business are fairly low, and getting lower. Real estate is cheap, there’s an abundance of skilled workers seeking jobs, and the business tax structure has improved dramatically under new Gov. Rick Snyder.
Boosterism aside, Detroit is still facing some really serious problems: failing schools, high unemployment, urban blight. And Mayor Dave Bing has his hands full trying to revitalize the city while saddled with a $185 million budget deficit and a shriveling tax base resulting from the exodus of 25% of the city’s population over the past decade.
Still, there are plenty of “green shoots” that shouldn’t be ignored. While families with young children especially were fleeing the city at a rapid rate, the number of college-educated people under 35 living within 3 miles of downtown grew by 59%. And the manufacturing industry is adding jobs at a rapid clip, contrary to what’s happening in other industries.
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