Fiat Chrysler and the City Announce Detroit’s “Largest Art Project”
Local artists have released a strong statement in response to today’s launch of the City of Detroit and Fiat Chrysler’s (FCA) global call for artists to paint “the largest municipal art installation in the city’s history.” The statement, which has quickly gained supporting signatures from prominent Detroit artists, charges that the city and FCA are using art to cover up the negative impacts of Fiat Chrysler’s Eastside expansion.
The artist statement reads; “Fiat Chrysler and The City of Detroit (City Walls and Arts and Culture Office) are attempting to use murals and artists to artwash and cover up the destruction of a neighborhood on the Eastside by the expansion of the Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) Facility.”
What is there to cover-up? The FCA Community Benefits Agreement is a monumental failure that is NOT benefiting many neighbors.
This is a public funded project The most recent dollar amount of public funding and tax incentives requested by FCA are now up to $400 million. $8.8 Million IN Community benefits is not enough from a global corporation that earned $4.1 billion in 2018.
Land Swaps The FCA project’s associated land “swaps”, like the full extent of public investment, were not revealed until after the NAC signed off on the deal.
Tax Capture/School Funds After completion of the project FCA will pay themselves back for the cost of redeveloping the site by pocketing $93 Million from their employees’ paychecks over 30 years. $34 Million of that would have gone to school funding*.
Environmental Racism We are in what the Environmental Protection Agency calls a “non-attainment” area for certain pollutants. That means our air is so toxic that FCA has to reduce emissions elsewhere to increase them here. FCA will be increasing emissions in our 94% black community with high poverty and asthma rates while reducing emissions at a suburban plant in Warren.
Volatile Organic Compounds: The new assembly plant would have the potential to emit 382.5 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per year. VOCs are a class of chemicals, and are one of the ingredients for the formation of ozone, or “smog.” The VOC emissions from
the new assembly plant would be caused by the new paint shop proposed by Fiat Chrysler.
State Regulator Says Fiat Chrysler Air Quality Plans ‘Fall Short,’ Are ‘Not Acceptable’
WDET – “Fiat Chrysler needed to submit two plans for the upgrades at its Mack Avenue and Jefferson North plants to state regulators by November 30. The plans concern what projects the automaker will initiate to address community concerns related to air quality and air monitoring around the Mack Avenue Assembly Plant. The company’s proposals were deemed “lacking” and “not acceptable,” respectively.”
‘Just Beniteau Residents’ fight
for real community benefits
Detroit People’s Platform supports and recognizes the hard work of ‘Just Beniteau Residents’. The group has been meeting frequently since last year to address their unanswered concerns and demands around the public funded Fiat Chrysler expansion.
Many of the residents in the group have lived there since the 1960s. Some are third generation residents. Some have lived there their whole life. They all have a real love for their homes and incredible love for their community. They have been disrespected and dismissed by Mayor Duggan and Fiat Chrysler.
Just Beniteau Residents have:
- Held five meetings and meet frequently.
- Supported Press Conferences on the street with US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Senator Stephanie Chang.
- Supported surveys and petitions on air quality sent to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)
- Met with Mayor Duggan on Jan 6, 2020. The Mayor was dismissive and disrespectful.
- Created a Statement and Demands.
- Presented Demands to the Legislative Policy Division on Jan 30, 2020.
The Just Beniteau Residents group represents the majority of people who live on our street. We believe that Beniteau Residents have been violated by the City and Fiat Chrysler through the Community Benefits process.
- The Neighborhood Advisory Council did not represent us or respond to our needs.
- The projects impact on our health and quality of life were not given priority.
- It’s worse than they said it would be and getting even worse every day.
- We need More Money.
- We want the program expanded to reflect number of units in multifamily buildings.
- We want to be treated with respect.
- We want the city and FCA to Fix Beniteau First!
For Beniteau residents this process has been nothing but legal trickery used by people who think we can be walked over and dismissed. The Fiat Chrysler Community Benefits not benefiting in any way. Just Beniteau Residents demand that Detroit City Council work to change this for us and to stop this from happening to other Detroiters.
Download and print the “Artists Stand With Residents” Info-Poster