DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Another round of community meetings is planned as part of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s plans for reshaping the city.

The meetings get underway Thursday with the aim of getting public opinion on where the city ought to go in the future. The current plan focuses on moving people from thinly-populated areas to denser neighborhoods. Bing has said incentives will be used to encourage people to move into certain areas of Detroit, which has lost more than half its population since peaking at nearly 2 million in the 1950s.

Bishop Charles Ellis chairs the mayor’s task force. He says Detroit simply can’t stay the same. “People change each and every day. I’m not who I was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago. So we are ever evolving and going through transitions and transformations and the city of Detroit is no different,” says Ellis.

However, there are some residents who are apprehensive about the mayor’s plans. WWJ reporter Vicki Thomas spoke with Christina Jackson, of Detroit’s northwest side, who says she supports the mayor’s idea, but understands why some people may have doubts.

“I think some people have lost their faith in the people that are leading us, leading our city. So, I think that maybe they feel like they need to take it into their own hands or just do nothing. Sometimes people just shut down when stuff isn’t going the way they want it to go,” says Jackson.

The Detroit Works Project is looking at ways to make the city more efficient. During the sessions, participants will be shown statistics put together by the group, and Detroiters will have a chance to sound off about what kind of city they’d like to see in the future. These sessions follow a series of meetings held in 2010 on the same topic that attracted thousands of participants.

“We hope now to narrow their input, so that we can move forward to coming up with some kind of documentation or some kind of plan,” says Bishop Ellis.

The task force meets Thursday night at the University Detroit Mercy – Student Center Ballroom – on W. McNichols Road in Detroit. The meeting begins at 6pm. Some 30 meetings will be scheduled in the coming months. Mayor Bing plans to release a neighborhood study on April 1.

Schedule of meetings:

January 29, 2011, 10 AM-12 PM
Odd Fellows Hall
8701 W. Vernor Highway

January 31, 2011, 6-8 PM
1358 Abbott, 1 Blk. East of Trumbull

February 1, 2011, 6-8 PM
Focus: HOPE
1400 Oakman Blvd.

February 2, 2011, 6-8 PM
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan
2131 Beaufait Street

February 3, 2011, 6-8 PM
Brenda Scott Middle School
18440 Hoover Street

February 5, 2011, 10 AM-12 PM
American Serbian Hall
19940 Van Dyke St

February 14, 2011, 6-8 PM
Leland Baptist Church
22420 Fenkell Street

February 15, 2011, 6-8 PM
Greater Grace Temple
23500 W. Seven Mile Rd

February 16, 2011, 6-8 PM
NFL/YET – Boys & Girls Club – Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus
16500 Tireman Street

Space is limited. Doors will close once capacity is reached. All meetings are public, and may be taped and photographed. For additional information contact:

(Copyright 2011, WWJ Newsradio 950. All Rights Reserved. The AP contributed to this report.)


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