From WXYZ – During his State of the City speech, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he is committed to fixing the city’s finances.
Saying that while much work needs to be done, Mayor Bing said the workers of the city who have negotiated with the city deserve thanks for sharing in the sacrifice that city needs.
However, Bing said that the next step is to downsize city government while making sure that the citizens still get the services they need.
“It’s not about cutting our way out of this, it’s about redefining who we are as a city,how we operate as a municipality, and how we deliver core services to Detroiters who have stuck with the city, and those who are slowly, but surely, finding their way here” Bing said.
Bing’s speech unveiled a number of things in his speech.
One of the measures Bing proposed was a complete upgrade of the city’s lights. This comes on the heels of what Bing called “the first small step,” the upgrading of 900 LED street lights in the downtown area and many of the neighborhoods. The effort also included the repairs of over 7,600 street lights throughout the city.
The upgrading of the city’s lighting system will include a new city-run authority to manage and finance the project.
Bing also talked about the city’s transit systems, saying that before tackling the regional Bus Rapid Transit system, “we must fix the problems with DDOT.”
The mayor also talked about redeveloping properties in the city, mentioning the demolition of the Ford Auditorium and the Uniroyal Tire site.
As a next step, Bing said his administration is working with the Detroit of Housing and Urban Development to demolish the Frederick Douglass housing development by the end of the year. The complex is also known as the “Brewster Projects.”’
Another measure Bing unveiled in a way to fight blight in the city’s neighborhoods by allowing people who live in Hubbard Farms, Springwells Village and Southwest Detroit. If the owners want to buy a vacant city-owned lot adjacent to their home, they can purchase it for $200. Letters have been sent to the more than 500 eligible people.
Bing says the program will be implemented in other parts of the city later this year.
The Mayor also announced a program to redevelop the Jefferson Village condo project. The city will work with the Detroit Economic Development Corporation to complete the homes in the development and sell them.
Bing says they will also work to acquire foreclosed properties in the development in the hope of retaining and attract more tenants to the commercial land along Jefferson Avenue.
Bing also addressed the controversial issue of the city’s recreation centers. Many people say they should not be shut down, despite the city’s financial problems.
Bing promised to keep them open, saying “I will not be closing any of our city’s Recreation Centers, even if we must modify the hours or secure additional partnerships like the agreements we have with the Lear Corporation and General Motors. I understand how vital our recreation centers are to our seniors, our youth and our city.”
Bing closed the speech by saying:
We are at a different time and place that requires different acts and actions. Even tonight, we are here in the auditorium of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center for the purpose of cutting the costs of this presentation.
These are transformational times for the City of Detroit and government must change to face and navigate this new reality.
Fiscal stability, public safety and improving the overall quality of life for Detroiters remain my top priorities. I will continue to work, to fight and to do whatever necessary for this city to become everything you — our citizens — deserve.
What did Bing say last year? Here’s the 2011 State of the City Speech: