Jeep Plant Isn't Getting a Warm Reception From Detroit Residents

Fiat Chrysler’s plan for a new Jeep plant in Detroit is off to a rocky start.
March 23, 2019, 7am PDT | Camille Fink
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Darren Brode

Representatives from Fiat Chrysler and the city held the first public meeting related to a proposed Jeep plant that would bring billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs to Detroit. The meeting was part of the city's Community Benefit Ordinance, reports John Gallagher:

The ordinance requires that any major project must negotiate a package of benefits with the surrounding neighbors before City Council signs off on it. Typical benefits paid by the developer would include money for schools and recreation centers, limits on truck traffic and pollution, and other good stuff.

Gallagher says it was a "sometimes raucous meeting," with residents raising a host of concerns about the role of the neighborhood advisory committee, employment opportunities for neighborhood residents, and heavy truck traffic in the area. "Given the long history of corporations either abandoning Detroit or steamrolling residents with new projects like the General Motors Hamtramck Assembly plant in the 1980s, the skepticism was entirely reasonable."

New York's experience with Amazon—and a planning process that lacked transparency and community involvement—offers important lessons for Detroit, adds Gallagher. "Even projects that sound wonderful when announced carry burdens for the local host community. And the voices of the local community are too often ignored as the deals are being negotiated in secret."

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Published on Thursday, March 14, 2019 in Detroit Free Press
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