March 22, 2018 – Michigan State Fairgrounds deal leaves Detroit picking up developer’s tab
The Land Bank says the inflated cost for the city is the result of years of additional maintenance that had to be done on the site due to continued delays by Magic Plus, LLC. The preliminary agreement that had Magic Plus buying the full parcel for $4.65 million was struck in late 2013 with plans for the company to fulfill a series of requirements by the end of 2015 so construction could start shortly thereafter. But Magic Plus delayed the process for years — forcing the state to extend the agreement seven times as it paid about a million a year to maintain the land for possible development. Since that initial 2015 deadline, the state has paid more than $2.3 million to maintain the site — and it now plans to have Detroit pick up the cost.
“This just smacks of a sweetheart deal between the state and Magic Plus,” says Frank Hammer with the Greenacres Woodward Civic Association, a group representing the neighborhood across from the site. “The taxpayers are the ones left paying the tab for delays that were caused by the developer.”
March 22, 2018 – If Ford buys Michigan Central Station, what happens to land nearby?
“Over the years, there have been so many rumors about development happening in that community,” said Linda Campbell of the Equitable Detroit Coalition. “My first reaction is always, what will this development mean for residents in the community and nearby communities and the city of Detroit at large? What kind of public investment — if any — will be made? Is it something that will get taxpayers on the hook for corporate development? These are details we need to take a look at as citizens to see if this is truly a development project that is going to make a difference for the everyday Detroiter.”
How a community benefits agreement would shape any Ford deal is unclear. So far in Detroit, only six projects have been subjected to the law — four of them Dan Gilbert initiatives. The end results, according to a new report from WDET, have been a lot of talk and not many actual benefits.
March 19, 2018 – Detroit’s failed CBA Ordinance “Wildly Exceeds” Council Member’s Expectations
This morning, Monday March 19, WDET ran a report on Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance. During the report Council Member Scott Benson stated that the CBA Ordinance had “wildly exceeded” his expectations. Please take a moment and call or reach out through social media to let Council Member Benson know that the CBA Ordinance is NOT working for Detroiters.
In spite of hours of meeting and talking with developers Detroiters have not seen one legitimate benefit.
March 19, 2018 – Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance Yields Hours of Dialogue and Almost No Community Benefits
WDET found the city last year conducted over 28 meetings for the community benefits ordinance process. The conversations between community members and developers resulted in mitigating the negative impacts of the new construction and in some cases developers making tweaks to their plans. But, after all was said and done, the first year of Detroit’s Community Benefits ordinance yielded almost no community benefits that the city can enforce. And there’s debate about whether the law is effectively giving voice to community concerns or resulting in tangible neighborhood amenities.
March 19, 2018 – Was the First Year of Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance Successful?
Amina Kirk, a legal advisor with advocacy group Detroit People’s Platform, attended many of the community benefits meetings and interviewed Neighborhood Advisory Council members about their experience. Kirk is disappointed with the lack of community benefits to come from the process and says many residents expressed not knowing what kinds of things they could ask from the developer. “One of [the Detroit People’s Platform] recommendations is that the city should provide examples of actual community benefits agreements from other cities to NACs so they can see what this looks like in real life.”
EARLIER THIS MONTH
March 13, 2018 – Dan, Mike, and the women of Detroit
Petty has a practice of speaking truth to power. Shortly before catching that headline I had just watched a video of the Detroit People’s Platform People’s Response to the State of the City, led by Petty.
Duggan had delivered the State of the City speech on Tuesday, March 6 evening. The response addressed issues such as transportation, affordable housing, and water shutoffs.
“Historically and during my entire life, black women have been engaged in every aspect of struggle in Detroit,” Petty says. “There are mothers sharing water hoses through their windows for families suffering water shutoffs. There are women cooking meals for the children on their block whose parents are working double shifts to try to make ends meet. I have witnessed and experienced Detroit women opening up their homes to children and families with no other place to go. I hesitate to call these responses progressive because this has just been the way that Detroit women have showed up for each other and their city for as long as I can remember.”
March 13, 2018 – Time to reconsider Detroit’s weak community benefits ordinance
Since Detroit is the largest majority African American city in the nation with many families at or near the poverty line, and most developers are wealthy and white, there are questions regarding race, and who gets the contracts, who gets the jobs and who gets left out.
March 13, 2018 – Spotlight on the News: The campaign to “Promote the Vote” & the future of the MI. State Fairgrounds
WXYZ Detroit – On Sunday, March 11, Spotlight on the News will look at “Promote the Vote”, the petition drive campaign to amend the Michigan Constitution to make “voting more accessible, secure and fair,” according to its supporters. Attorneys Kary Moss of the Michigan ACLU and Kahlilah Spencer of the NAACP will be our guests.
We’ll also look at the future of the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit. Karen & Frank Hammer will explain the role their neighborhood coalition is playing in the possible development of the 160 acres near the intersection of Woodward Avenue and Eight Mile Road.
March 7, 2018 – In State of the City, Duggan talks schools, jobs, and “building one Detroit”
But some of Duggan’s critics said his speech and policies are still disconnected from the everyday reality of most Detroiters.
Kea Mathis, a community organizer with the group Detroit People’s Platform, said Duggan’s speech left her with “a lot of questions,” and a sense that “wrongs that need to be righted” for many longtime Detroiters are still being ignored.
“Why did you demolish houses instead of putting people in houses?” said Mathis, saying questions about the propriety of past mass tax foreclosures in particular still have yet to be addressed. “He talked about more bus routes, but for people that actually ride the bus, there are problems of access, of cleanliness, a lack of bus shelters.”
“We’re tired of hearing about so-called improvements, but anything that really makes a city thrive…those things are not addressed.”