Kresge Pledges Additional $120 Million Toward Detroit Revitalization

Detroit has received a significant showing of confidence from its benefactor, The Kresge Foundation (based in Troy, MI) after it unveiled its new strategic plan known as Detroit Future City. As the city downsizes, the challenges are significant.
January 13, 2013, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Matthew Dolan writes on The Kresge Foundation's latest gift, "about $120 million in new funding beyond previously announced programs" to revitalize Detroit through it new Strategic Framework Plan known as Detroit Future City. Kresge, based in nearby Troy, "invested more than $100 million in Detroit over the past decade to construct a riverfront promenade (RiverWalk), build greenways and help fund a new 3.4-mile downtown trolley (M1-RAIL light rail/streetcar circulator) line that is expected to receive federal support."

Dolan writes that the investment is a significant show of faith in this new plan by both the foundation and its leader, Rip Rapson, which is significant in that Dolan had written that both had shown doubts on its considerable investments (covered by Planetizen on July 9, 2011: Detroit's Angel Foundation Reconsiders Support).

Dolan provides some excellent insights into the new plan by Prof. Robin Boyle, chairman of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State University in Detroit.

“It has the opportunity to set a new direction and a new tone that the city has to be smaller, tighter and more dense.” He cited Philadelphia as an aging industrial city that has made strides in finding new uses for its vacant and underused property.

"He cautioned, though, that the plan may fail to address the growth in the city’s suburbs where many jobs will still lie. More pressing, he said, is how Detroit will continue to serve residents in sparsely populated areas even as they hope to turn those into parks, farms or urban forests."

However, the additional investment itself is significant in that it helps meet one significant challenge - the money to implement the plan.

"Urban planners say many plans similar to the new Detroit blueprint have had disappointing outcomes, relegated to bookshelves as cities struggled find the resources and political will to implement a long-term vision", Dolan writes.

Finding the political will is next.

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Published on Friday, January 11, 2013 in The Wall Street Jounal
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