DETROIT (WWJ) – New unemployment numbers released for Detroit show significant progress.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, who spoke with WWJ Newsradio 950 live at the Mackinac Policy Conference, says the city’s unemployment rate recorded in April was the lowest it has been since May of 2001.

“Think about that: Before the September 11th attacks was the last time in Detroit the unemployment rate hit 8.4 percent,” Duggan said.

“We still have work to do, but when I started it was over 18 percent,” the mayor added. “So, we’re moving in the right direction and we need to keep raising the skills of our residents so that the jobs we’re bringing back can be filled by Detroiters, and that’s a huge point of emphasis right now.”

Duggan says he has eight principles to guide the redevelopment of Detroit:

  1. Everyone is welcome in our city.
  2. Detroit won’t support development if it displaces current Detroit residents.
  3. The city will fight economic segregation by pushing jobs into all neighborhoods.
  4. Blight removal is critical.
  5. Detroit will create walkable neighborhoods.
  6. Those who stayed will have a voice.
  7. Jobs and opportunities are available first to Detroiters.
  8. The riverfront is for everyone.

The mayor also addressed rumors a professional soccer stadium could be built in Greektown.

“I think there may be even better uses for the entertainment district, but the first question is can the county executive reach an agreement? But I would love to see the criminal justice complex over at Warren and (I-)75. I think that’s a great place for it; I think it allowed the entertainment district to expand downtown,” Duggan said.

Duggan added that he’s not sure a soccer stadium with 25 dates a year is the best use for prime downtown land, but he says he would like to see Major League Soccer in Detroit.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is he’s still looking over proposals by Walsh Construction and billionaire Dan Gilbert’s company Rock Ventures. The former would complete the long-delayed jail project, an unfinished eyesore on Gratiot near I-375, while the latter would bulldoze what’s there and build a $1 billion commercial development, which would potentially include a pro soccer stadium.

Evans, also on Mackinac Thursday, told WWJ’s Charlie Langton a decision will be made very soon.

“The end of June we’re going to have to pull the trigger one way or the other,” Evans said. “This thing is stretching out farther than it should. I know people are working diligently at coming to some conclusion, but conclusions can’t take forever.”

If the land does go to Rock Ventures, the company help build a consolidated criminal justice center on Forrest Ave. It would include a new adult and juvenile detention facilities and a new courthouse that would replace the current Frank Murphy Hall of Justice.


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