City Transformation, News

This spring’s April showers bring … development in Detroit? It seems that way

Rumors of Detroit’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Sorry, newspapers, magazine, journals, trade-group rags and the like. You can write whatever you want, but it’s just not the truth any more.

Why can I say this? Because everywhere I look around the city I see green shoots. There are signs of growth and development and, most importantly, love. There is so much affection for this aging metropolis that I’m convinced Detroit cannot die.

I’ll give you a few examples. The first comes from Andy Didorosi, who announced a start date and launched a web site this week for The Detroit Bus Company, a group that will ride a bunch of buses around the city to provide extra transportation for residents, visitors, business owners and their patrons and just about anyone else willing to pony up the $5 for an all-day ride.

Then, there was a kind of war between developers as to who would get to develop three of the buildings in the city’s Capitol Park area. Lansing’s Karp and Associates won out over guys like Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch family, according to media reports. And managing partner Richard Karp told The Detroit News that he cannot wait to get into Detroit…he’s always wanted to do some work there.

Add in great events like this weekend’s Rockin’ 4 Hunger, a musical fundraiser run by an all-volunteer committee to raise money for two important charities that serve the metro Detroit area: Macomb Charitable Foundation and Forgotten Harvest. All of the money from the Saturday-night party will go to to help feed our neighbors.

“Awareness is a huge challenge because so many of us that have enough don’t have a lens into the people that don’t,” said Rockin’ 4 Hunger organizer Michele A. Jones.

Warning: If you want to buy tickets to what is being calling the “Best Rock-n-Roll Charity Fundraiser,” you have to do it TODAY! The count is up to 290 people right now, so it will be a great crowd. If cannot get those tix in hand, you also can “Like” the event on Facebook to keep track of new events as they arise.

The $55 ticket price include three bands (Category 5, Soulkrackers and Fade to Grey) playing high-energy live blues, soul, classic and modern dance rock. They serve premium appetizers, which are more like a meal. And open bar-drinks are included in your ticket price. There also is a silent auction with unique items, photo booth and way more fun than should be allowed! (OK, Michele added that, but I’m gonna guess she’s right.)

This year it is being held at the Lafayette Grand Ballroom, a beautiful historic Masonic Lodge facility in downtown Pontiac. “We want to support urban areas and help introduce people to the great experiences urban areas can provide. It is VERY easy to get to and very safe with guarded parking. It will be a fun adventure for our guests,” Jones said.
“There is so much great musical talent in the Detroit area and we have some great bands at Rockin’4 Hunger to prove it,” she added.

The demand for food around Metro Detroit is “staggering,” Jones told me this week. There is not enough for so many.

“The need is great. As recently as a few weeks ago, Macomb Charitable reported to our team that all the homeless shelters in Macomb County were full. That they receive calls from schools asking for help because kids are living in cars with their parents, from police stations asking for help for families living in parks. It was reported that there are close to 1,000 homeless school age children in Macomb County alone,” Jones said.

That is one reason event organizers also are sponsoring a “Truck for Taters” at the event. Stevens Van Lines – a major event sponsor – is donating the truck in the parking lot. There, you can deposit your bags of potatoes for Forgotten Harvest. The goal, Jones said, is to collect 500 pounds of potatoes during the event.

Rockin’ 4 Hunger’s mission is to raise money for metro Detroit food charities through music.  We are an all-volunteer group of nine people, five of which are on the board. The goal is to have an impact across metro Detroit and to impact a mixture of communities.

They chose Forgotten Harvest because they are a large, food rescue organization that does a terrific job serving communities across metro Detroit. This is the third year Rockin’ 4 Hunger has supported Forgotten Harvest. And Macomb Charitable Foundation does a remarkable job assisting families, especially children across Macomb County. Jones said many of the members of its team live and work in Macomb County and “we want to help make a difference in our community,” she added.

Yup. Detroit’s not going anywhere. Try to fit that into your headlines, folks.

This is a new and different Detroit. This is a city that people want to be in. There are new gardens, new art developments, new changes every day. I’m thinking Detroit isn’t dead; it was simply waiting for the right season to bloom.

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