Finding a Smidge of Hope Here
Is it a drop of water – or is Detroit's glass starting to feel a little more full?
This is what I'm wondering about the $5 million auto supplier giant Lear Corp. is giving the city as announced Wednesday. It is a 10-year grant that will fund new parks, equipment, a school-based mentoring program and more.
Personally, my feeling is the tide is turning. I'm particularly enthused by this quote from Mayor Dave Bing as heard on WWJ-AM:
“What I'd like to do today, not only thanking them for their support, but use it as a challenge to other business groups that can do some of the things that Lear has stepped up to the table to do,” Bing said. “So I'll be going out, as I have been, to other business relationships that I've been able to formulate over time and use this as an example of how we work together to bring this city back.”
To me, Bing's quote is a prime example of why this mayor is the right man for this job.
He's got business clout. He's got some cred with his peers. And he's calling ALL of it in. Why not? There is no mission as large as Detroit for someone who likes to fix things, who likes to see things done right, who has a tick for working out every little thing. Bing has such a thankless job. I'm happy to see his business acumen is helping him smooth some paths.
Face it: There is not enough money to fix this monster, this beast of a city from the tax base. We need charity, grants, foundation money, whatever it takes to make a tide of change. Some might see $5 million as a drop of water; I see it as one more bucket being poured into a growing reservoir.
Oh, and Lear is opening a plant in the city, which should hire about 200 people. Again, a drop of water when it comes to jobs. But add that to the thousands arriving thanks to Quicken, Blue Cross and others and you've got something.
I'm hopeful. There, I've said it. I have hope for Detroit. And that hope is growing stronger.
From The Detroit Free Press:
"I know that Lear isn't looking for accolades, but they deserve more than a pat on the back,” Bing said. “We want to use this as an example for other business leaders. Detroit is a city worth saving and a city worth investing in."