Editorial: Detroit leaders need corporations to invest in neighborhoods

There was another good piece of news recently in downtown Detroit with Waymo picking Detroit for its assembly of their self-driving vehicles. 

This is all great but in my opinion the Duggan administration needs to double down to bring back the city's neighborhoods and provide affordable housing there. 

There have been some shining examples of revitalization efforts including J.P. Morgan Chase's recent announcement of a $15 million investment into the mayor's strategic neighborhood fund. 

This money will be used primarily to support projects in commercial areas across 10 neighborhoods. This latest effort is on top of Chase's launch of community development loan funds starting in 2014. I applaud these efforts but it's just not enough. There needs to be a far greater participation from banks and financial companies that do business here in Detroit.

In a recent report from Detroit Future City that looked at Detroit's growing African-American middle class, residents across the city and suburbs were asked what would bring them back into the city's neighborhoods? Their answers were clear. They are looking for quality walkable neighborhoods with good schools and a balance of homeowners to renters. They are looking for a real community. The mayor must go beyond his efforts today of enabling investment in the neighborhoods through the neighborhood fund.

We need him to lead an aggressive fund-raising effort that would set out clear goals of investment and set expectations for local companies to get on the bandwagon. At Chase's news conference, Duggan said there's a lot more work to do to ensure more Detroiters are participating in the city's comeback. We need our banks and corporations to provide more grants and low cost loans for mixed use real estate development and affordable a multi-family housing. 

Mayor Duggan, the time is now to make the big ask to banks and corporations who do business and reside in our city. It's time for them to step up and invest in rebuilding our neighborhoods.