DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit is again the topic of national conversation after it was announced that $300 million in federal dollars will be pumped in to the city to help with blight and public safety.
Among those speaking out in defense of the spending is Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert who appeared on national TV to talk about it.
“The Obama administration came to Detroit Friday, and, taking some existing federal dollars … basically pushed those towards the neighborhoods,” Glibert said, Monday morning, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
“I mean, that’s the key here,” he said. “You know, downtown is really starting to do a lot better, as it Midtown … and the neighborhoods are the ones that really need the help.”
The money will be used to tear down thousands of vacant houses as well as putting more cops on the street.
Gilbert said, however, an infusion of cash can only fix part of the problem. Another issue, he said, is the “brain drain.” A recent study showed that one-third of Michigan college grads leave the state.
“Most importantly, actually, for us here [the idea is] to keep these the talented graduates of Michigan State and Michigan and Wayne State, Eastern, and Western, all together down in the Motor City, versus leaving the state. That’s number one,” Gilbert said.
Gilbert believes Detroit may be able to finally begin to turn the corner.
“I’ve never seen this area so focused, together, and working hand-in-hand — all these sectors working together to really, really finally make some major moves,” he said.
Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers and Horseshoe Casino, jumped more than 100 spots on this year’s Forbes 400 Richest Americans list, with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.
His comments on CNBC come as Detroit remains crushed under an estimated $18 billion in long-term debt. State-appointed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in July filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the city. A trial will be held in October to determine whether or not Detroit qualifies for Chapter 9 protection.