By: Vickie Thomas
You would have been hard pressed to tell that Detroit is in such dire straits judging from all the hoopla in and around Comerica Park for opening day Thursday. It also happened to be the first full day the city began operating under a newly approved consent agreement with the state which is aimed getting Detroit back in the game.
With the council voting 5-4 Wednesday to approve the consent agreement, the city managed to wiggle its way out of a cash flow crisis and the appointment of an emergency manager. But, Detroit still faces a $200 million budget deficit and over $13 billion in long-term debt.
But on opening day, the city’s financial woes were not top of mind for Tigers fans. They filled the streets along with other folks who just love to party and people watch. The traffic jams downtown reminded me of Chicago which is one of my favorite cities to visit. Anthony Kellum, a businessman who just moved his office downtown was overwhelmed by the traffic. “I had no idea it would be like this,” he said.
For the first time in a long time, I put the car keys down and let my feet do the walking through the streets of downtown Detroit. After my early morning stint reporting from inside of Comerica Park, I ventured outside. I met up with Char Yates of Detroit Public Television and we walked from party to party.
First up, we hit the tailgate parties just outside of the stadium. Then we headed over to the opening day block party put on by WWJ’s sister station 97.1 The Ticket in Grand Circus Park. The place was packed!!
The first indoor party took us to the Gem Theater where once again the place was packed – every room on two floors. The event had lots of give-a-ways, a silent auction and plenty of food and drinks. It was all to benefit a local charity and it was by far one of my favorites!
After that, we walked across the street to the Music Hall which had music blaring and people dancing on the red carpet outside the front entrance.
Then it was off to Harmonie Park where we hit the opening day party put on by Ambassador Magazine at the Detroit Seafood Market’s PV Lounge. Dennis Archer, Jr. hosted that spectacular affair!
With all the fun and excitement spilling out of the ballpark and other venues onto the streets, I imagined what Detroit would look like if everyday where like opening day…wouldn’t that be great?
Tigers fan Christine Berryman of Dearborn quoted Alexander Pope as she picked up tickets at the Comerica Park box office, “Hope springs eternal.”
I hope the Tigers win the pennant race and I hope Detroit becomes the world-class city that we all want to see!