A City With No Parks?
So, the Bing Administration has announced that, starting July 1, it will close nearly 80 parks, including in neighborhoods with some of the most engaged citizens. To some degree, the move is understandable: Detroit must sharply reduce its services to avoid bankruptcy. But the move raises several issues, like: What will happen to the parks? Detroit hardly needs more barren fields. One risk is that fewer parks will make Detroit even less palatable to the kind of people -- particularly middle-class residents, with kids -- the city needs if it is ever to rebound.
Nearly a year ago, I asked Mayor Bing about the fundamental services a city should provide its citizens. He said: "There are services that we can't provide anymore, that we'll either cut back, or we'll do away with altogether.... There's some basic things we absolutely have to be responsible for -- public safety, for example. If you don't have an education system where kids get a safe, good education, you can't convince anyone to stay here or to come here." Jobs, obviously, would help. But parks are also a factor when one considers a city's quality of life.