DETROIT (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder says Detroit has emerged from bankruptcy a stronger city.

Federal Judge Steven Rhodes on Friday approved Detroit’s exit plan, officially ending the largest public filing in U.S. history and allowing the city to shed roughly $9 billion dollars in debt.

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[READ: Judge Rhodes Oral Opinion]

Following the judge’s decision, Gov. Snyder said the city has come a long way.

“Detroit has a bright future now,” Snyder said. “If you stop and look at this and you go back 15, 16 months to when I authorized the bankruptcy, it was a day people wondered what would be the future of Detroit. It was a situation to deal with 60 years of continuing decline and challenge within the city.”

“I’m pleased to say today is a historic day in a positive sense for the city of Detroit. The city has a bright future, and it was because of the hard work of so many people.”

Snyder said the city’s exit from bankruptcy is cause for celebration — but much work remains with the goal being to restore the vitality of the city from downtown through the neighborhoods, “with the quality of life that Detroit’s families deserve.”

In a statement, Snyder said: “People will long remember that when Detroit arrived at this troubling hour, its residents and leaders – with supporters statewide – started to pull together as one. Our state has rallied around its largest and iconic city. It is no longer Detroit vs. Michigan, but the embracing of Detroit, Michigan.

“This day marks the end of the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy, resolved quickly and successfully as a result of cooperation, compromise and a shared vision from many parties. And it offers hope to hundreds of thousands of residents who call Detroit home.

“This difficult process inspired an unprecedented ‘Grand Bargain,’ where our philanthropic and business communities joined with lawmakers from both parties to lessen the impact on pensions and extend vital services. And we deeply appreciate the sacrifices from retirees who have agreed to take less to help their fellow Detroiters and Michiganders…Detroit’s journey is far from over. But there is no mistaking that Michigan’s largest city is stronger. Its brightest days are to come.”

State-appointed emergency manager Kevin Orr  turned over city operations to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in September.

“I think what you saw today was the best of us; the best of Detroiters, the best of Michiganders, the best of Americans,” Orr said Friday, “coming through a difficult but managed judicial process to get a result that’s for the benefit of the citizens of Detroit, the region and the state.”

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Among those pleased with the judge’s ruling is the group of foundations which worked to set up the grand bargain.

A statement from the group, which includes the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Ford Foundation, Hudson-Webber Foundation and others says the grand bargain is a balanced, forward-looking plan that helps the city honor its commitment to hardworking retirees and preserves key civic assets that contribute to the city’s vibrancy and supports the local economy.

“Today is a day of determination for Detroit,” the statement reads, in part. “With Judge Rhodes’ confirmation, the City and its residents can focus on the important tasks of rebuilding institutions, repairing communities, reinvigorating the economy and restoring the trust of its citizens. We are confident in Detroit’s future – an optimism that stems from the spirit of positive engagement that exists in the City as it does from today’s ruling. As foundations, we will continue our investment in the City, and we pledge to work with all those in Detroit who are leading efforts to advance a better future for an essential American city – a future that is worthy of all those who call Detroit home.” (Read the complete statement).

Also weighing in Friday was billionaire Detroit real estate mogul Dan Gilbert, who called is a “monumental day in Detroit’s history.”

Gilbert said “now that the slate is clean” it’s time for all in the city to get back to business.

“We must continue building the kind of environment that allows jobs and wealth to be created. At the end of the day, the only thing that will enable the city to be fiscally responsible and experience significant growth is to develop a positive climate that encourages innovation at all levels,” Gilbert said. “I am certain Detroit and Detroiters will bring their best game and show the rest of the world what we are capable of achieving.”

In neighboring Macomb County, Executive Mark Hackel says city government all over the state must learn from this process.

“Whether it’s the city of Detroit or other municipalities or government entities, we need to learn that, you know what — this is something that, when you’re making decisions, you know, whether… it’s labor contracts, or contracts in general, running city governments or municipal governments — you need to make sure that whatever your decisions are, they’re gonna be things that are sustainable in the long-term, not just in the short-term,” Hackel told WWJ.

Hackle said the city can finally move on and figure out how to shed the stigma of bankruptcy.

MORE: Judge Approves Detroit Bankruptcy Exit Plan, Ending Largest Public Filing In US History

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