Gang Violence, Budget Crunch Threaten Holiday Events In Detroit
DETROIT (WWJ) – This could be the last year for Detroit’s two biggest holiday events.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Police Chief Ralph Godbee held a news conference Friday morning to talk about the future of the Detroit fireworks show and America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Bing said the future of both events is in jeopardy because it’s simply not possible for the city to fund either project on its own.
“Because of the financial crisis that we find ourselves in and the 12-13 budget that we will adhere to, we’re not going to be able to fund any of these kind of activities on an independent, individual basis,” said Bing.
“As such, we will actively engage the Parade Company and our regional partners to discuss the financial sustainability of events like the fireworks and the Thanksgiving Day Parade in the future,” he said.
Parade Company President Tony Michaels said he’s already spoken with Governor Rick Snyder about just that,
“He made it very clear that let’s get a very strong collaborative effort together with everybody and make sure that these events that touch the hearts of so many family and children and people and bring people together, that they are around forever,” Michaels said.
Michaels said they are even speaking with Windsor about helping to foot the bill for the fireworks in 2013.
Meantime, Detroit police are sending a warning to groups who might see this year’s fireworks show as a chance to cause trouble.
Surrounding by representatives from law enforcement agencies across the area, Chief Ralph Godbee is it has been rumored that “gang members have some intentions” regarding this year’s fireworks show set for June 25.
“I need them to understand the full support that we have, the full visibility that we have, to make sure that this is going to be a family friendly event,” said Godbee. “But any inkling of anything other than that, we will be at the ready to take the appropriate action.”
Godbee is asking the Detroit City Council to impose an emergency curfew on anyone 17 years old and under, saying they must be accompanied by an adult of they want to attend this year’s fireworks display.
There had been discussion about closing the Riverwalk due to safety concerns, but Bing said Detroit police will receive help from local sheriff departments as well as Michigan State Police. Last year two teens were shot along the Riverwalk, when a gun one of them was carrying went off by accident.