Reporting Mike Campbell
DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroiters know all too well that their neighborhoods are filled with abandoned and burned buildings. After putting up with it for so long, residents say they don’t care who is in charge, they just want their city back.
WWJ’s Mike Campbell talked with residents in Detroit about the newly appointed Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr — a bankruptcy expert who represented automaker Chrysler LLC during its successful restructuring.
Elaine Gardenhire lives in the area of Dexter and Davison on the city’s west side. Her neighbor is filled with beautiful architecture, but much of it is empty, abandoned or burned. She said she’s ready for a change.
“I feel like whoever it is, it’s going to make it better for the citizens of Detroit. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me who that is, as long as they make it better,” she said.
Her neighbor Ann Dyson, who was lived in the same neighborhood her entire life, said she’s glad someone else is coming in to help Mayor Dave Bing.
“Mayor Bing is not doing nothing for this area. I guess he don’t care about us,” she said Ann Dyson. “Get someone in here who cares and who can get the job done.”
Milton Murray also lives in the area, and he says the decay stretches for miles. At first, the idea of a state takeover worried him. But now, he’s just glad that help is on the way.
“It needs to be taken care of. It don’t make a difference if it’s Mayor Bing or the Governor or an Emergency Manager, we just need some help, you know,” he said.
Bobby Wilson said it doesn’t matter who does the job, just as long as it gets done.
“We need a real aggressive leader that can start some momentum going back into this city and kind of close this gap in separation between neighborhoods and downtown. That’s always kind of been a problem here,” he said.
Shattay Knox-Taylor said her experiences living in Detroit have helped her work toward the goal of becoming a Marine. After finishing her military program, she hopes to return to a new Detroit, one that’s prosperous and productive.
“It’s scary because you don’t know if anybody is going to come out and grab you. So, you know, these homes are pretty but it’s a shame that it’s so messed up. But hopefully thing will start to change around here,” she said.
Detroit, which at one time was the symbol of American progress and held great political power thanks to the auto industry, has lost a quarter-million people during the last decade and remains saddled with a $327 million budget deficit and more than $14 billion in long-term debt.