Hundreds of people turned out in Detroit Tuesday night for the first of a series of public discussions on what to do about vacant neighborhoods and the best uses for city land.

Detroit has lost about 60 percent of its population since peaking near 2 million in the early 1950s.

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The first forum was held at Greater Grace Temple.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing told WWJ’s Stephanie Davis “We’re not going to force people to leave, we’re going to ask people, and try and give them a reason that they should move to a better neighborhood. I think that’s the real key.”

Many of the 1,000 people that attended the meeting told Mr. Bing they’re concerned about being pushed out of their neighborhoods.

Mayor Bing also told residents his goal is to strengthen the city’s neighborhoods.

Bing has said what he calls the Detroit Works Project will take about 16 months. Other meetings are Thursday and Saturday, with more to come.

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Kim Tandy, with the Sherwood Forest Association, felt Tuesday night’s meeting lacked organization. “I just think that we need to, first, give a presentation of where they are so the city knows what they’re discussing. So, they can actually be a part of because just a gripe session of what’s going wrong or what we think, that’s not gonna be beneficial to anybody. You know … if we wanna really do this right, we need to really involve the people that are out there doing it, that are out there everyday,” Tandy told WWJ.

The four remaining meetings will be held at the following times/locations:

— Sept 16, 6:30pm -8:30pm, American Serbian Memorial Hall, 19940 Van Dyke, Detroit.

— Sept 18, 10:30am – 12:30pm, Whittier Manor, 415 Burns Dr, Detroit.

— Sept 21, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, El Kiosko Banquet Hall, 7271 Dix, Detroit.

— Sept 22, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren, Detroit (doors open at 6pm).

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