Mayor Mike Duggan will outline a 10-step plan to improve Detroit neighborhoods and the police department’s new strategy to reduce gun crimes at tonight’s State of the City address.
Duggan is scheduled to deliver his 10th address inside the restored Michigan Central Station in Corktown, the future site of the Ford Motor Co. technology development campus. The speech is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the city’s website, Facebook and YouTube pages.
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The mayor, now in his third term, ran his first campaign on the theme of every neighborhood in the city having a future. Tonight, he’s expected to return to that focus, with a broad plan to improve neighborhoods. The multi-step plan includes clearing thousands of overgrown alleys, ramping up efforts to address illegal dumping, replacing tens of thousands of sidewalk slabs and expanding beautification grants to community organizations, said Duggan’s spokesman John Roach.
Duggan, Roach said, will also provide a significant update on citywide blight removal efforts, including residential, commercial and industrial properties. Last year, the focal point of the mayor’s speech was the global following of Detroit’s “decay and ruin” and the progress on reinventing a dozen iconic commercial eyesores – including the former train station.
Duggan will discuss the importance of Ford’s $740 million investment in Michigan Central Station and the economic benefits it will bring to the greater Corktown area. The renovation of the historic building, which had been among the symbols of Detroit’s decline, is scheduled to wrap up later this year.
A major section of the speech will focus on how tax incentives and public subsidies support large development projects which have grown city revenues, Roach said. Detroit approved $104 million in tax abatements to subsidize the Ford project, which received $239 million in total tax breaks.
The City Council is considering another large package of tax breaks for a major downtown development project planned by the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan and Stephen Ross’ Related Cos. The development team is seeking council approval of a $616 million Transformational Brownfield Plan and $133 million in other tax breaks. Disagreement over how essential tax incentives are to development will likely define the debate in weeks to come.
The mayor presented his 2023-24 budget proposal to the council on Friday, laying out $31 million in funding for blight remediation. Duggan also proposes spending $13.3 million to demolish privately-owned abandoned houses.
Duggan told the council last week that he plans to put a greater emphasis on demolishing roughly 5,000 privately-owned vacant homes. There are 7,000 vacant homes owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority, of which, 4,000 will be demolished and 3,000 will be sold by the end of 2024, he said.
Affordable housing is also a continued priority for Duggan. He’s expected to discuss plans for redirecting millions of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the creation of affordable housing. The city originally allocated $7 million of its $826 million ARPA allocation for affordable housing initiatives. Duggan’s budget plan includes $1.8 million for an affordable housing fund.
Another piece of the address will cover crime reduction initiatives to address gun violence. Duggan last week said that the police department is working on an $8 million violence intervention strategy and mental health response plan, which includes partnerships with community organizations.