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Detroit 2020 Bus Tour: Part One

September 02 2011 | 9 comments

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.

We rode by the Michigan Central Station.  And then drove through parts of Southwest Detroit and saw Clark Park, Cafe Con Leche and Honeybee Market, one of the city’s 111 full service supermarkets.

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.

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Comments

  1. eze swain August 31, 2011

    What else did you show them besides downtown? Did you take them to Belle Isle? In its heyday was the greatest public park anywhere in America. Did you take them through Indian Village, where the elite of Detroit once lived? Did you take them through the neighborhoods where the real Detroiters live. Please tell the WHOLE story!!

    [Reply]

    Detroit 2020 Reply:

    Hi Eze, you can find the entire list of locations here: http://detroit2020.com/2011/08/31/detroit-2020-bus-tour-where-we-went/

    [Reply]

    Erika Reply:

    The only problem with your list is that the picture you have between the Bureau of Urban Living and City Bird is actually of the Inside Detroit Welcome Center located on 1253 Woodward, where you stopped in before you went to the Lofts at Merchants Row. Sadly we were left off the list of places you visited, even though we gave the tour and you all stopped in… But feel free to stop by anytime! We’re here Monday – Saturday 11am-6pm!

    [Reply]

    Detroit 2020 Reply:

    Sorry about that Erika – You weren’t on the list we received from Inside Detroit, and boy was that a lot of locations to remember, but I’m adding the welcome center right now!

    eze swain Reply:

    I forgot about Palmer Park and university district neighborhoods. Everything in Detroit is not vacant and burnt.

    [Reply]

  2. Linda Yellin August 31, 2011

    Thank you WXYZ Detroit 2020 and Inside Detroit for continuing to promote the positives of Detroit.

    Our company has been offering bus and walking tours for suburbanites, Detroit residents and

    visitors for many years providing opportunities to

    Experience, Explore and Enjoy Detroit. We focus on cultural tourism and social issues.

    Feel free to check out our website http://www.FeetOnTheStreetTours.com for upcoming tours.

    Also check out last weeks article featuring Linda Yellin – Discovering Detroit in the Farmington Observer

    [Reply]

  3. Michelle September 1, 2011

    I created a site highlighting all the cool, unique places in Detroit for this very reason. People from Detroit’s suburbs remember Detroit at it’s worst, and only know Detroit now through the bad press they hear on the news.

    The heart of the city is amazing and making a big comeback with really awesome businesses moving in at an alarming rate. There is a lot to do and a lot to see in Detroit that is fun and safe for the whole family. I believe if we can educate the people of greater Detroit on all of the positive things Detroit has to offer, and show people where to go, we can really strengthen the city together.

    Check out http://www.squidoo.com/cooldetroitplaces, and visit Detroit! There are a lot of amazing places in the city that I bet you don’t even know were there.

    [Reply]

  4. Thomas A. Wilson Jr. September 1, 2011

    I saw the report on Channel 7 News and yes you changed minds and that’s the best part about the “Bus Tour.” I applaud Channel 7 for its effort to shoe Detroit in a positive light. We, the metropolitan region, are all in this ball of wax together and we can stand united or continue to be divided and separated and unequal. Again, Channel 7 I applaud you for your effort!

    [Reply]

  5. Ashley Karse December 8, 2011

    It’s great to see what you guys are doing to promote a brighter Detroit. Sounds like you guys have great destinations on your list. Here are some more ideas from a collection of photos of the city which includes Detroit landmarks http://detroit138squaremiles.com/julia-reyes-taubmans-day-trip-underrated-detroit-landmarks

    [Reply]

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