Duggan touts director of planning, neighborhood development at Mackinac conference


Mackinac Island – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discussed side lot sales, connecting riverside residents and revitalizing city neighborhoods in a keynote address Tuesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

After a 28-month hiatus, the conference resumed this week with the theme of “reimagining a healthy Michigan” at the Island’s Grand Hotel with fewer attendees and strict protocols.

Duggan, during an hour-long conversation by the fireside in the hotel’s grand theater, provided an update on the development of the neighborhood and introduced Antoine Bryant, recently appointed director of the planning and development department of Detroit.

Bryant said he grew up in the Brooklyn projects and was inspired by his surroundings because it was “abundantly clear that my family, friends and neighborhoods were never a part of the planning process.”

This led him to pursue studies in architecture and design, and then he got deeply into community development similar to the one where he grew up.

“I always wanted to give back and had my eye on Detroit for quite some time,” said Bryant after joining Duggan on stage.

The mayor noted that the corner of Seven Mile and Livernois was known as the destination for upscale clothing and has been redesigned with a new streetscape, widened sidewalks and bike lanes based on community feedback.

In the past two years, 22 new African-American businesses have opened on the Strip, and “it’s now one of the fastest growing shopping districts,” Duggan said Tuesday.

“It was on purpose that we said ‘right now the Detroiters are going downtown Royal Oak, Birmingham, Ferndale, but the Detroiters haven’t had that experience,” “Duggan said. “So we decided to do it …”

The $ 17 million overhaul was not without controversy. The construction project encountered delays, made navigating the neighborhood difficult and parking limited.

Duggan said the project is now replicated on Kercheval, Grand River, McNichols, and “Antoine is going to replicate it in the rest of town.”

Bryant, during his first eight weeks in the post, said he admired the residents of Detroit for having a say in how the city looks in the future.

“I’ve always focused on community engagement because I want to hear from people,” said Bryant, who moved to Detroit from Texas. “In addition, our department is committed to visiting the 200 neighborhoods of this city so that everyone knows that they are seen, heard and engaged.”

Duggan noted the city’s progress in offering vacant secondary land to neighboring homes for $ 100. So far, 19,000 city owners have purchased the subdivision next to them and the next step is to turn other vacant lots into a neighbor’s vision, Duggan said.

The city’s Department of Neighborhoods and Bryant, he said, will visit neighborhoods across the city and, with federal grants from the COVID-19 relief program, will revitalize vacant lots with community input. .

Duggan also mentioned the installation of 4,500 speed bumps in residential areas. Bryant touted the success of speed bumps across the country, saying “demands are skyrocketing” as it provides a safer environment for drivers and families.

Over 60 basketball courts have been reconstructed in city neighborhood parks.

Duggan also said on Tuesday that the city’s riverside was once blocked off by concrete silos, but now connects downtown and soon the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy will extend the link to the Joe Louis Greenway, creating a 26 mile cycle loop.

The mayor spoke of the impacts of summer flooding and the need to renovate infrastructure. He expects a stormwater management plan to be put in place in the coming months.

Duggan also noted that he expects fewer workers to return downtown after being battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think cities in this country are going to see fewer offices,” Duggan said, adding that U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, has sponsored legislation to provide bribes to cities to transform offices. in housing.

Arn Tellem, Vice President of Pistons Sports, introduced Duggan and the conversation was moderated by Lloyd Jackson, Senior News Analyst at WJR NewsTalk 760 AM.

Running for a third term

The mayor delivered his speech to a crowd of political and business leaders just weeks before the general election on November 2. Duggan is running for a third four-year term.

Duggan is challenged by Anthony Adams, a former deputy mayor of Kwame Kilpatrick.

Last week Duggan campaign manager Alexis Wiley told the Detroit News that Duggan will not debate Adams before the election, citing his “hateful and confrontational rhetoric.”

Adams, 65, built his campaign on Detroit’s crime and poverty rates and launched his candidacy by accusing Duggan of “benign neglect.” He insists that there is “a clear need for change” following the overtaxing of city residents and infrastructure failures.

Adams also attacked Duggan over the volume of water seizures and cuts the city has suffered in recent years, the practices in the massive effort to end the scourge from the city and what he claims to be a lack of investment in black companies.

►For subscribers: Adams focuses on those Detroit voting groups in an attempt to topple Duggan

Duggan won a resounding victory over Adams in the August primary, staging a fall election that political analysts say is “his own.” The mayor got 72% of the vote in the August 3 race against Adams, who got 10%.

Adams said he was targeting young voters and those absent in his bid to topple Duggan. About 68,400 mail-in ballots were sent to voters in Detroit last weekend, according to officials from the city’s Election Department.

Duggan, 63, touted the emphasis on building a “One Detroit for Everyone”.

Its strategy includes affordable housing, the rebirth of long neglected neighborhoods, and ensuring that every Detroit resident – through programs like Detroit at Work – has access to jobs and skills training.

As the centerpiece of his re-election announcement, Duggan unveiled an effort to raise $ 50 million over five years to help fund a series of programs for Detroiters who have felt “left behind or left behind.”

The initiative, called the People Plan, includes programs to help adults seeking a high school diploma, skilled trades training and home support programs.

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Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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