Wishes for Detroit: 2013 Was the Year When…

 

Like many of you, I am a believer in the power of positive words to set the mind on a positive trajectory and to create an atmosphere where positive change is more likely.  Positive words are nourishment. They prime the pump; they prepare the soil; they seed the clouds.

Entering 2013 focused on the obvious negative issues of our city is pretty easy, but it isn’t going to get us where we need to be.  I’m not suggesting we ignore the very real issues that have made our recovery and revitalization more difficult, because we have to know the issues to solve the issues. But there is something to be said for optimism, even as reminiscing conjures up the negative news headlines of the past 12 months we realize that a lot can happen in a year.

The challenges that have plagued us up to 2013—some common to any city, some not so common—don’t have to be the same challenges we face in 2014.  We all have things we would like to see change; things we believe have to happen in order for our city to improve.  I know I’m in good company in saying that we can make 2013 “the year when…” and finish that sentence with any number of good things.

Here are a few things I’d like to see:

  •   2013 was the year when we successfully halted the land grab, scaled successful neighborhood revitalization initiatives, and developed innovative land uses that put our most challenged neighborhoods on a path to sustainable renewal.
  •  2013 was the year that we first experienced the benefits of City Council by District. Representation by district brought a new vitality to our neighborhoods and increased involvement of our residents, as knowledge of how to create stronger neighborhoods become more accessible.
  •  2013 was the year that state and city government exercised strong political will to support and develop expansive solutions to homelessness in collaboration and partnership with members of the Continuum of Care for the Homeless.  Detroit’s business community and residents at large contributed to a comprehensive plan to support homeless assistance and to end homelessness in the city.
  •  2013 was the year that a regional transit authority was created.  The RTA got off to a great start and was able to develop a regional transportation plan, coordinate future routes, receive state and federal funds, and position itself for future full implementation.
  •  2013 was the year that the trend toward a significant decrease in crime began.
  •  2013 was the year that Thrive Detroit L3C facilitated the launch of 20 low-income individuals into small enterprise ownership and increased the number of its street newspaper vendors/micropreneurs to 100 individuals, spreading beyond Midtown throughout the city.

Twenty-thirteen looks like a very good year for Detroit. Let’s make it happen. What’s your 2013 wish for Detroit?

 

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