Workforce Development in the Woodward Corridor

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In the Fall of 2010, it was announced that major private funding was coming our way, in the form of a $22 million investment in the Woodward Corridor. The announcement noted that,

“New York-based Living Cities, a collaborative of 22 national foundations and financial institutions, plans to invest $22 million in an effort to redensify Detroit’s Woodward Corridor.

The money is comprised of grants, program-related investments from foundations, and loans.

The investment is part of up to $80 million Living Cities is investing in five metropolitan areas over the next 10 years and the largest amount given to any of the cities.”

These dollars, along with ongoing talk of a light rail system running up and down Woodward Avenue are portents of better things to come for the region.

But wait a minute – haven’t we all heard this before?

In March of this year, Andrew Basile published an infamous Detroit “Sprawl” letter (http://rustwire.com/2011/03/11/michigan-business-owner-soul-crushing-sprawl-driving-us-away/). The letter addressed what is wrong with the region and why people are leaving or just don’t want to come here. He gets a lot of credit for his candid perspective. But even more, he gets big kudos for providing a vision of a positive future for the region by creating a follow-up to his letter: The Woodward Project – A New Model for Detroit.

The concept is revolutionary, yet seemingly simple. The 14 mile stretch of Woodward from Detroit to Pontiac represents a unifying area that can tie the suburbs back in with the downtown area of Detroit. What Basile talks about in his new model is a combination of change in:

  • Our policies
  • City planning
  • Regional attitude.

You can check out Basile’s vision here: http://rustwire.com/2011/03/14/the-woodward-project-a-new-model-for-detroit/.

The part that resonated for me the most is a change in attitude from suburbs vs. city. We are all part of the same Detroit region, whether we live in Midtown, Greektown, Berkley, or Wyandotte. The point is that, as a region, we need to create a unified front in bringing the Detroit area back to its former glory.

The call is out and a few people have answered already. So, where does everybody else stand?

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