Event shows Detroiters that there’s no painless path out of this mess
Published: May 16, 2012
It is all part of the strife that surely awaits the city as attempts are made to balance the city's budget — not just this year, but in years to come. Because, despite some improvements, the overall forecast appears very bleak. Some areas, such as Midtown, may be experiencing a resurgence, but, overall, it appears the city continues to lose population. And then there's the opening of competing casinos in Ohio, which will certainly hurt the gambling business — and the tax revenue it generates — in Detroit.
There was, however, another message for participants: This isn't a problem that can be solved merely by cutting. Creative solutions — both in terms of providing services and attracting new residents and businesses — must be part of the equation.
Participants took that message to heart as well. Michael Matorelli, who does sales and leasing for several Midtown properties, suggested that the cross-training of police, firefighters and EMS personnel could help those respective departments deal with budget deductions without cutting into services.
Ideas such as that, along with the data collected at this and similar events in the future, will likely be provided to decision-makers as they attempt to help Detroit navigate this crisis. That's one of the goals emphasized by Irvin D. Reid, Wayne State's president emeritus and a member of the Detroit financial review team appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The notion that solutions to Detroit's problems can be found at the grass-roots level is key.
Near the conclusion of Thursday's event, as participants were asked if they had anything more they wanted to offer, one young woman — a 22-year-old Wayne State student — stood and gave an impassioned speech.
"The community is what is going to make this community strong," she said.
And everyone in the room applauded.
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