Detroit 2020 Bus Tour: Part One
When it comes to the city of Detroit, all too often the negative gets more attention than the positive. The Detroit 2020 team wanted to see if showing people a more balanced picture of Detroit would change the way they feel about the city.
We started by posting a few questions on Facebook — asking things like, “How often do you hang out in Detroit.” We got hundreds of responses to our various questions. Many people said they never go into the city. Others told us they might go in for a Red Wings game or Tigers game and go straight home. From the responses we invited 13 people to join us on a city tour.
We assembled our group here at Broadcast House. Stephen Clark explained, “Our mission here today is to take people with different opinions of Detroit and the suburbs, show them around, take a look at these things and find out if these perceptions and prejudices are real or imagined.”
Our guide was Jeanette Pierce of Inside Detroit. She began the non-profit tour company to educate people about the city’s history, culture, community and liveability.
She said, “We want people to be more comfortable. We want them to know about the great things, understand the problems and the bigger picture, appreciate living in southeast Michigan, whether they’re here for a day or a lifetime.”
Jeanette had her work cut out for her with our group. Bob and Mary Welden moved all the way to Tecumseh to avoid Detroit. Mary told us, “The crime sort of keeps me away. We left the area because of the crime rates in Wayne Country. And going into Detroit is kind of like a little scary thing sometimes.”
Candice Howland enjoyed the city as a child. Now that she has children of her own, she says she doesn’t feel safe.
Susan Lough brought her 15 year old daughter Becky on the tour, but not before educating her on some of the more disheartening facts about Detroit.
Becky said her mother had told her about the recent weekend when there were 16 murders in the city. Becky’s reaction was, “I don’t ever want to go down there.” We asked if we could change her mind. She was still skeptical, but answered, “Maybe. Hopefully.”
As everyone piled onto the bus, we were hopeful too. We headed down the Lodge toward downtown and got to know each other a bit.
Jeanette pointed out the former site of the MGM site. We also rode by well know landmarks like the site of the Old Tiger Stadium and lesser known sites, like Hostel Detroit.
After a turn around Campus Martius, we arrived at our first stop, the Guardian Building. Jeanette says this is always a “wow” moment on the tour.
The splendor of the architecture brought out the cameras, and perhaps began to change some minds — just a little.
Susan said, “I never would have thought it’s as gorgeous as it is, so it’s making an impression. A good impression.”
But we had a lot more to see. Will this group still be smiling when the tour ends? Watch the second part of our tour here.
To learn more about Inside Detroit or to schedule a tour, click here.