State of the City seemed to go well. There were undoubtedly some vague areas, but overall, the right issues were at least brought up: public safety, education and re-structuring the city. That said, with each passing topic, there was some bits left to be desired. But perhaps this just gets the tracks greased. A new police headquarters is going to be announced within 60 days (the rumor mill is ripe with thoughts, the most notable of which is the United Artsts Building at Bagley and Clifford near Grand Circus Park), a couple of new “academies” (presumably technical schools of sorts) are going to be put up in the city and it was made explicitly clear that Detroit will not be annexing any of its land to nearby communities like Ferndale. We are staying together and fighting through. Nothing was really referenced in terms of the newly appointed city planner Tony Griffin or even mention of any strategic frameworks (like CDAD’s work) that have been developed in support of “right-sizing” Detroit. And so we move.
This weekend has a pretty neat fundraiser/beer-swilling/beanbagging event: a cornhole tournament. And it’s all for a great cause in support of the Colin Hubbel Fund. Colin Hubbel was a prominent developer and enormous champion for Detroit. The fund continues on as a legacy of his work supporting efforts of businesses in Midtown with things like grants for signage (Leopold’s Books). So anyway, the cornhole tournament is comprised of 60 teams sqauring off against one another for the COPA CORNHOLIO. Should be a fun event, taking place Sunday, March 28 at the Majestic Theater. More info here.
Malcolm Gladwell sort of made the term “the tipping point” popular in his book titled, well, you guessed it, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.” In the book, he defines the tipping point as “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.” Now, one could argue Detroit is getting awfully close to it’s tipping point, if not for the many people and forces pushing it forward, and specifically because of two crucial components that today has already brought and will bring. Just this morning, The National Endowment for the Arts (a public agency in Washington DC promoting the arts) chairman Rocco Landesman is touring the city of Detroit with folks from CCS, The Kresge Foundation, the Cultural Alliance, Compas and The Knight Foundation to understand the state of the arts in Detroit and how the NEA can help its progress. Then later this evening, Mayor Bing will deliver his “State of the City” address discussing the future of a city and its plan for re-invention. It’s hard to not recognize this momentum, if only for the energy that it builds. It’s nice to take note of it, to stop for a quick second to realize that change is happening. Sometimes slow, sometimes stagnant, but we are moving. It gets exciting as we envision that change within the transition that is and certainly will be a historically significant movement. Ol’ Malcolm coined that tipping point, now we’ve got to hold on as we approach the forward push. Onward.
Holy crap, take a break for a second and Detroit starts exploding. First, call it just a winner of a celebration: THE MARCHE DU NAIN ROUGE. Seriously folks, this parade, dress-up day, party and see your friends kind of Sunday was really something else. Highly reccomend this one for next year. A lot of people came out and started the day at 3rd bar adorned in everything from priest’s garb to snowman outfits. The parade assembled and proceeded through the Cass Corridor as everyone chased the little red dwarf right on out of town and sent him away in a burning mess of flames that concluded the party in Cass Park. Everyone went to Temple Bar after and had a few drinks. The weather was beautiful, the sun shining. Simple. It was a good day.
The good news is still coming! Over the weekend, filming began for the second round of documentary shorts. So the films will keep coming in the same vein as The Farmer and the Philosopher. No details can really be hardened up for now as to when things will be ready and released, but at this point, it’s all adhering to a pretty aggressive timeline.
Finally, don’t forget about “State of the City” this week (and the Model D Speaker Series that will include a forum discussion after the address). Bing will deliver his speech on a forward vision for the city. The pieces are coming together. Toni Griffin, renowned city planner, has been commissioned by the Kresge Foundation to bring her team to Detroit and start to put the pieces together. Toni has experience working with a very similar city to Detroit that has been talked about here: Newark, NJ. The same town that has a documentary series about them on the Sundance Channel about how the city is actually turning on a dime and see much success. So, now, is Detroit next for Ms. Griffin and her team? Hear more on Tuesday when Bing starts talking shop on something of a plan.
The big day! Mayor Dave Bing’s ‘State of the City’ is happening on March 23. In anticipation of Bing’s plan, there’s talk all over town about consolidation of the city limits, bulldozing houses and concentrated investment in particular neighborhoods. In anticipation of all the big news, the Model D Speaker Series and Declare Detroit initiative are teaming up to hold a public forum on the evening of the 23rd to listen to Bing’s speech and discuss the results afterward. The event and address takes place on Tuesday, March 23 at 5:30pm. RSVP for the Speaker Series here.