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Detroiters talk about the future after the Brink of Bankruptcy

June 28 2013 | no comments

If Detroit goes to bankruptcy court, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in u-s history.  So no one knows exactly what to expect.

And this uncertainty is causing concern for many Detroiters.  As our Detroit 2020 series continues Jo Ann Purtan talks to residents about their hopes and fears as we teeter on the brink of bankruptcy.


In my conversation with residents from the Cody-rouge area of Detroit, the words concern, hope and leadership came up again and again.

These three women have all spent most of their lives in the city of Detroit.  They share a passion for their city and an easy camaraderie that comes from shared experience.

But when the conversation turns to their west side neighborhood and what the future holds, the mood becomes a serious one.

Patricia Butler says there are two ways to look at bankruptcy, “You can look at bankruptcy as an opportunity to organize and to restructure or you can look at bankruptcy as a way to finish – I’m going to say it – finish killing off Detroit.”

Angy Webb hopes bankruptcy can be avoided. “I’m very concerned about the fact that a lot of people who work for the city, because I do have a family member or two who work for the city, and they may end up also suffering a great deal because of the fact we are facing this, and I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.  I really am.”

Patricia Butler want to make sure what little money that’s available isn’t all spent downtown. “Don’t forget the heart and soul of the city which is the neighborhoods.  So I see the neighborhoods as being the stabilizing factor in this city.”

The women are also concerned about what a bankruptcy will do to the image of the city and to the morale of the residents.

Patricia told us the psychological effect of negative change is wearing on those who are working and doing grass roots work.

But Nancy thinks if we allow ourselves to be discouraged disenchanted,  “Then we’re losing the battle.  And I refuse to do that.  I want to continue to work for there to be the changes that are necessary.”

While Kevyn Orr or a bankruptcy judge may put Detroit on a path to the future.  They will eventually leave and the citizens and our elected officials will regain control.

So the upcoming elections, beginning with the august sixth primary, are crucial.

The women agree the only solution is to be an informed and educated voter.

And as they look to Detroit in the year 2020, they see hope.

“I know Detroiters are strong,”  Angy told us, “And I know that they will bounce back but sometimes it’s just so hard when you go through so much.”





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