DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A group involved in the long-term revitalization of Detroit says its priorities for the coming couple of years include pushing for economic growth to foster job creation and stabilizing hard-pressed city neighborhoods.
It’s no secret that the bankrupt city of Detroit has seen better days, and members of Detroit Future City will work toward improving basic services for residents and the transformation of acres of vacant land into better uses.
Executive Director Ken Cockrel, Jr. told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas and other reporters Thursday that those areas “are critical to the long-term viability” of Detroit “and must be addressed first.”
The Detroit Future City strategic framework was made public in January 2013 after two years of research and community input. It is considered a 50-year blueprint for the city.
Cockrel said city residents have been directly involved in the planning,
“There are a number of recommendations in the Detroit Strategic Framework for stabilizing neighborhoods,” Cockrel said. “It’s important to know that those recommendations didn’t just come from up high, they really came from below.”
“The strategic framework is a result of community meetings, working group meetings, town hall meetings where citizens of Detroit were actually giving input,” Cockrel said.
With an unemployment rate of 17 percent plaguing the city, Cockrel said they’re looking to put more Detroiters back to work through partnerships.
“We have a live work program, which is targeting the I-96 industrial corridor and the Brightmoor neighborhood,” he said. “That live work program basically seeks to go into those neighborhoods, and identify what the specific employment needs are of those particular communities.”
Gov. Rick Snyder said that he has seen the plan, but isn’t saying if he had any input in determining the program aimed at moving Detroit forward.
“I’ve seen drafts and I’m going to wait for the plan to be presented and be a public document,” Snyder said. “The good part is that this is part of the process we need to go through to get this resolved.”
While Snyder hasn’t taken any credit, he did praise Emergency Financial Manager Kevin Orr for his involvement.
“This is primarily Kevin Orr doing an outstanding job,” Snyder said.
City Councilman Brenda Jones, who was present Thursday’s unveiling, said she’ll be interested to see what Cockrel and his group has in store.
“I’m waiting just as everyone else is waiting,” Jones said. “We know that changes are coming to the city, and we’re waiting to see what those changes are.”
The Kresge Foundation has pledged $150 million over five years for projects that align with the Detroit Future City’s strategic framework.
[Learn more about Detroit Future City HERE].
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