DETROIT (WJBK) - Mayor Mike Duggan shared his vision for the future at Tuesday's 2018 State of the City Address.
"We had to stop the exodus," he said.
After showing how the city stopped the bleeding of more than 240,000 residents that fled Detroit the decade before he was elected - Mayor Mike Duggan's focus turned to helping the thousands who stayed.
He began with the city's biggest challenge - education.
"The first commitment we made was that every Detroit child who graduates from high school in Detroit will have college guaranteed to be paid for, that's a Detroit promise and we've implemented that," Duggan said.
Right now 32,000 Detroit kids attend school in the suburbs. To help bring them back to the city, Duggan discussed a new commission that would rate city schools and allow parents to choose where they send their kids. With that, a bus route that would make it possible and after school programs that would give kids a safe place to stay and learn.
"I can tell you from the enthusiasm that if we could get DPS and the charter to work together and collaborating we could be providing good choices right here in the city of Detroit," Duggan said.
Safety is also key for residents to stay put. Duggan honored the officers we lost protecting our city which he says has made huge strides cutting down violent crime.
He credits the Green Light program that puts real time surveillance in gas stations and businesses and Operation Cease Fire - a program in precincts which police partners with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and US Attorney's Office to identify gang members and other criminals.
"We can do this if we stay with this program," Duggan said. "To Chief Craig and all the men and women in the Detroit Police Department, thank you for all that you are doing."
Duggan also is making it possible for low income residents to stay in their homes, establishing a housing trust to help building owners preserve affordable housing. And Duggan has spearheaded an affordable housing initiative that is expected to build thousands more.
"Their homes are protected for the next 15 -30 years because you stayed and we are going to make sure that you know you are valued," he said.
Duggan says all of these changes have lured more than 25 major companies. each bringing up 100 to 500 new jobs for Detroiters.
But he was quick to point out that more work needs to be done - from infrastructure improvements, demolishing all abandoned properties by the end of 2019 and job training and new business opportunities for Detroit residents who want to work where they live.
"We are chipping away at these barriers," he said. "One after another so that we can get Detroit residents to work."
The mayor also said that the city will be out of state oversight this spring - about 30 years ahead of schedule.