Change Agents, City Transformation, News

Detroit’s ‘do it yourself’ attitude and people will persevere

Detroit skyline from Milliken State Park

Since its founding in 1701, Detroit has survived fires, riots, and it will survive this financial crisis.

Many Detroiters are used to not getting much help as far as government services go. In the neighborhoods, the city doesn’t mow very much, but in some areas churches have banded together to take care of acres of land.  Large groups of volunteers are taking back parks. Business owners would have been called crazy if they invested in some areas of the city years ago. But more and more, those folks are proving they are in fact crazy .. like a fox.

What the city has left fallow is being tilled by urban farmers, community groups, block clubs and entrepreneurs. Those willing to put their shoulder into turning things around have been able to find a home here. Innovative and unique solutions can at times take root, quite literally.

Detroit skyline from Milliken State ParkSee, the government is broke. But the spirits of many are not. From downtown to some corners of the city (and obviously more corners still need work) there’s investment and signs of turnaround, as well as the challenges.

To many of these doers, makers and hyper-local leaders, the fiscal crisis is almost immaterial. Their streetlights didn’t work anyway, so things could only improve.

What this fiscal review does is lay bare the depth of the situation and provide a turning point. The fact that Detroit has enough revenue is crystal clear. But, it’s the organization of how those dollars are spent that is the culprit. The world has changed, but some might say the practices of Detroit’s government have not. The time capsule, if you will, has been opened.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but on the other side of this, Detroit’s citizens will be better off and the community will be stronger. Detroit, as a lady I knew in church would say, will “keep on keepin’ on.”

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One comment on “Detroit’s ‘do it yourself’ attitude and people will persevere

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