Tale Of Two Cities: Working And Living In The ‘D’
DETROIT (WWJ) – A street view of the city of Detroit–not too many people have that.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Marie Osborne continues her series about the changing landscape in the city of Detroit in her series “Tale of Two Cities”.
Osborne spoke with one of the legions of cab drivers in the city of Detroit-for an unvarnished look at what’s really happening.
When you get into this yellow cab, you’ll be surprised by what you find behind the wheel.
A chic, well spoken young woman, with much to say about her adopted city.
Oneita Jackson is a former Detroit Free Press editor and columnist. She says the city has failed miserably in providing the city services she needs to do her job, especially in the winter.
“I want to charge the city of Detroit with attempted murder,” Jackson said. “Because I’m driving on these streets and they’re slick there is no salt and it is very scary.”
With three cab drivers murdered in the last six months, safety, she says is paramount. She travels the streets eight hours a day and she says police are hard to find.
“That troubles me because if there were more police visibility — I happen to think police visibility is a deterrent,” she added.
Jackson says she see first hand the tale of two cities that is Detroit, on the one hand – vibrant development – and on the other hand crushing poverty in the neighborhoods. As for solutions, some of those start at home.
“I think that, just from my observations of eleven and a half years of living in Detroit, there are some things we can do for ourselves. Alright? We can keep our neighborhoods clean. That doesn’t cost any money,” she said. It doesn’t call for Kwame Kilpatricks … what was his campaign, ‘Kids, Cops, Clean,’ I didn’t participate in that, I’m not picking up your trash, I pick up my trash every day. So there are things we can do in our community, so when people are up in arms over … polices, when you have time, go volunteer in the schools – cause the schools are messed up.”
Two people who’ve made a huge personal and professional commitment to the city of Detroit are Dominic Pangborn and Carly Strachan.
Pangborn is an internationally known artist. He was one of the first artists to claim a stake in Detroit more than 30 years ago. His studio is just a stones throw from the river in what was once no mans land.
“And people are usually totally surprised because from the outside you never expect this, I think ninety percent of the audience is like ‘Wow, this is like New York, Soho,'” Pangborn said.
Pangborn says he’s pleased to see more “New York” type spots cropping up in the city. Across town in Midtown, 32-year-old Carly Strachan, a marketing executive has just purchased a home in the West Canfield Historic area.
“I realize after living here, just even renting, that I wanted to invest here. I am making my life here. So having the opportunity to purchase a home in a neighborhood that’s blossoming and continuing to grow … there was no hesitation about it,” Stracham said.
“The growth, how many new restaurants … My friends have opened up businesses that are succeeding and opening up new businesses.”
“The Riverfront wasn’t there ten years ago, I’m riding my bike all the way to Belle Isle; I’m hanging out in Campus Martius on a Saturday,” Strachan added. “That wasn’t there ten years ago. I’ve seen this transformation first hand and I believe in it. I believe it’s going to continue.”
Strachan paid under $200,000 for the large historic home.
Taxes? Those are high, about $5,000 a year. But, she said, she rarely uses her car, so that’s a big savings.
“From ten years ago when I started working down here to where the city is now, it’s amazing,” she said.
What do Strachan’s family and friends think of her home purchase in Detroit?
“Maybe they understand that city living isn’t for them … but they are definitely excited that I’m down here,” she said. “They have someone they know and I think they like to say, you know, I’m at my friend’s house, she lives downtown … come hang out. We have lots of parties and functions so I don’t think anyone was really skeptical.”
Catch up on the previous stories from Marie Osborne’s series: A Tale of Two Cities
WWJ Newsradio 950′s Marie Osborne reports on the changing landscape in the city of Detroit in her series “Tale of Two Cities” this week. Listen on WWJ Newsradio 950 and come back to CBSDetroit.com each day for more.