Tuesday, June 13, 2006

to hope or not to hope?

I had a bit of a surprise waiting for me in Detroit when I went home last week. Seems they went and cleaned up for the Super Bowl.

Now, we all know Detroit did its best to put on its dress suit and shine its shoes for the mass media influx. What I did not anticipate was a lasting effect.

Katie and Scho's wedding photographer, Linda, recently had moved into one of the newly renovated luxury lofts on Woodward Avenue, in the heart of Downtown. The same Woodward I drove through over the past two Xmases and mourned. A mere six months ago it was still a hollow, dirty, broken down shell. Last week the street was clean and nearly rejuvenated.

Walking into Linda's place, I was floored. Gorgeous exposed brick, high ceilings, plush elevators and hallways, really an astounding space. If still in Motown I would lust after such an apartment. Hell, I lust after it now but here. The building is fully populated and merely lacking a good local grocery store (they dream of Whole Foods) After being blown away by Linda's place, we strolled past the Detroit Opera House and sparkling new YMCA to the Detroit Brewery for dinner.

There is still a long way for the City to go - the further you get off of Woodward the grungier the streets get, and the pedestrian traffic is still almost non existent. But having people, yuppies with big disposable incomes at that, choosing to move in down there means a lot. To renovate the city you need to have people living there. It was the white flight that really put the stake in the heart of the city, and getting money living down there is necessary to get the city back.

The real challenge is to get families to live there by choice. Until you do, Detroit will be a revolving door for Yuppies until a new trend hits.

But again the quick turnaround and the new interest in living there is something. The question now is can the momentum stay?

In asking Dirk, Dirkette, and the Michigan Ex, they all were doubtful. They believe the Detroit politic is lackluster and too filled with pork and greed to actually really get the job done.

So I remain saddened by Detroit in spite of its recent efforts. I was telling someone I wish for so much of the city, its failure to live up to my ideals just breaks my heart time and again. Damn those casinos, for instance. Just damn them.

If only people would take the example of Indian Village and really rejuvenate the neighborhoods.... three blocks of stately expansive homes kept to their prime by a strong community base. That is where the children could live.

Again, so much to dream for but so little hope.

1 comment:

ctina said...

i've heard detroit is the new seattle/ portland/ minneapolis. embrace your lattes, midwest!