Detroiters excited for Duggan's State of the City

- There are a number of Detroiters who feel Mayor Mike Duggan is not addressing important issues for those in poverty.

But for people inside Western International High School for Tuesday night's State of the City, they liked what they heard - including Police Chief James Craig. 

"When you look at everything the mayor talked about today, rebuilding neighborhoods, opportunities for returning citizens those things matter," Craig said. "And that's going to also assist in driving crime down."

Duggan tackled a number of issues from crime to affordable housing, from neighborhood development efforts to education.

"Let's take an area in northwest Detroit - let's say Southfield to Livernois and Fenkell to Eight Mile," Duggan said. "And we've got about a dozen charter and DPS schools. Let's have a combined bus route."

That proposal would have the Detroit Public School Community District working alongside charter schools in an effort to reclaim roughly 32,000 Detroit kids attending schools in the suburbs.

"The tutorialism that exists in public education has to stop," said DPSCD President Nikolai Vitti. "If we're going to bring those students back to the city to be educated, we have to work together."

That's what a number of philanthropic groups are doing to help revitalize Detroit neighborhoods. Three received $42 million for redevelopment efforts. Duggan is gunning for $125 million more to do the same in seven other neighborhoods.

"I am so excited to be a Detroiter today," said resident Daryl Harris. "Especially after hearing (Duggan) tonight."

Duggan announced plans in the works to hire more police officers and take the Ceasefire program city wide. It is currently in two precincts. DPD says it's responsible for making a dent in homicides and non-fatal shootings.

"This is not pie in the sky, these are strategies we've seen work and as we continue to move through the year they are going to continue to work," said Craig.

Duggan announced that millions of dollars will be spent on infrastructure improvements and 51 percent of the work will go to Detroiters. 

Millions are being invested in job training programs, some are already paying off.  Ex-cons are finding work through city partnerships with felon friendly companies. And more affordable housing units will be made available throughout the city--including downtown and midtown.

"I think that's good because that gives more people opportunities to be able to afford a nice home for their family in a nice area," said resident Antonio McClure.

"For me, I started Returning Citizens Task Force," said Councilwoman Janee Ayers. "So to see that message be a part of a mayor's State of the City it shows that we're really looking at everybody that's a part of this city being a part of the state of the city.

But there are people who feel they are not connected to the progress of the city or to what is being made. A number of social justice organizations responded to the mayor's address tonight and they said they are concerned about high water bills and water shutoffs and also wealthy developers using public money for private developments. They also cited residents not having much of a say in those developments. 
 

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