Detroit is reclaiming more of its manufacturing heritage and will be getting $600,000 to do it. The city and the Detroit Economic Growth Association (DEGA) will rejuvenate the Mt. Elliott Employment District as a manufacturing cluster with the help of a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration.
Running from I-94 along Van Dyke and Mt. Elliott roads north to 8 Mile and with almost 15,000 people employed by 1,700 companies, Mt. Elliott is already the largest industrial corridor in the Motor City.
“Upgrading the Mt. Elliott into an attractive industrial area will reinforce our region’s role as a global hub for manufacturing,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “It also will support our mission to provide ample employment opportunities for Detroiters.”
Jobs and a stronger tax base. That is what the project really boils down to. It is especially attractive if the new jobs are accessible to the existing workforce.
“Michigan has always led the nation in manufacturing, and the Mt. Elliott District is now positioned to help Southeast Michigan continue to lead the way in economic development by attracting businesses ranging from automotive suppliers to high-tech research and innovative education and training facilities,” said U.S. Representative Gary Peters.
The action plan will follow the Detroit Future City Strategic Framework’s place-based strategy for economic growth that aligns public, private and philanthropic investments in employment districts. Specifically infrastructure improvements, land assembly and site development will be addressed. Transportation, workforce amenities, marketing for business attraction, sustainability and public engagement are also on the list for improvement.
“The plan will be a replicable process for improving other employment districts within Detroit that will have lasting impact. And, we’ll be creating approaches that our regional and national peers can learn from,” said Kenneth Cockrel, Jr., executive director, Detroit Future City.
Aside from the initial $600,000 grant there will be more monetary assistance for Mt. Elliott. The City of Detroit and DEGA will provide an additional $100,000 of in-kind contributions, staffing and $50,000 to pay for a portion of projected contractual expenses for the project.
The whole endeavor will take about a year starting in the first quarter of 2016 and ending in the first quarter of 2016. Consultants will be identified through a RFP process. Then the project will be broken down into four phases. One, gather data analyze. Two, develop and present key findings and opportunities. Three, visioning and strategy development. Four, strategy refinement and finalization.
In May a study called Forging the Future: Recommendations for Strengthening Detroit’s
Mt. Elliott Employment District was conducted for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation by the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. It’s a good read.