Detroit Plans to Invest $125M in Bond Funds to Revitalize Commercial Corridors


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The above rendering features a business corridor with the proposed improvements.

Photo Courtesy: City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, along with city and community partners, today announced a sweeping plan to revitalize many of the city’s outdated commercial business corridors. Construction on the first projects will begin in late 2018, with the earliest projects to completed by early 2020 and all improvements complete by 2023.

By making the business districts more attractive and pedestrian friendly, the city aims to recapture some of the estimated $2.6 billion in spending Detroit residents do annually in surrounding communities, based on a study by Detroit Economic Development Corp. (DECG).

Mayor Duggan says he will submit a proposal to the Detroit City Council in the next two weeks and request its approval for the sale of $125 million in bonds to fund improvements to the city’s commercial corridors.

Approximately $80 million of the bond revenue would fund major infrastructure improvements along the city’s key business corridors, including Livernois-McNichols, West Vernor, and East Warren.

The other $45 million would complement existing road funds to improve 300 miles of city roads and replace hundreds of broken sections of sidewalk. Corridor improvements would also include landscaping and reconfiguring traffic lanes to include bike lanes, improved street parking, and in some cases, wider sidewalks to accommodate café seating.

“Every day, many Detroiters drive from their homes past underutilized business districts to shop outside of our city,” says Mayor Duggan. “Using these bond funds, we are going to revitalize many of our neighborhood commercial corridors to create vibrant, attractive districts so Detroiters have a place to shop in their own neighborhood.”

According to the DEGC report, major improvements will bring millions of dollars back to some of Detroit’s retail corridors. Specifically, the corridor at Livernois and McNichols could capture $215 million in retail activity annually, per the study.

Funding for the improvements will come from increased revenue the city is receiving from its share of state gas station taxes and vehicle registration fees (not included in the current road improvement plan). Under the proposal, no city general fund dollars will be used to re-pay the bonds, and no road maintenance programs or construction projects will be cut.

Additionally, the city plans to spend another $193 million of budgeted city, state, and federal dollars (for a total investment of $317 million over the next five years) to improve 300 miles of major roads and residential streets and replace 300,000 sidewalk sections. This mean 75 percent of the total funding will go towards traditional road and sidewalk improvements, while 25 percent will support corridor investments.

The neighborhood redevelopment plan will also create construction jobs, and DPW will continue its commitment to hire Detroiters in rebuilding the city by following the Executive Order 2016-1 requirement that a minimum of 51 percent of hours worked on publicly funded construction projects are done by Detroiters.

In 2016, 57 percent of all sidewalk repairs were done by Detroit residents and 54 percent of all roads were paved by Detroit residents. In 2018 and beyond, DPW will continue to hire at least 51 percent Detroiters to complete construction work.    

DPW also expects to continue awarding 100 percent of prime contractors for sidewalks and resurfacing work to Detroit based companies though the five-year project, something they achieved in 2016 and 2017. The 100 percent rate exceeds the 30 percent requirement in Executive Order 2016-1.    

“We are very proud of the fact we are providing an opportunity for Detroiters to rebuild Detroit,” says Ron Brundidge, director of DPW. “This added work will mean more jobs for city residents.”

A map of projects can be found here.

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