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Detroit's neighborhood city halls likely to disappear

Detroit’s community access centers are one casualty of the city’s ongoing cost-cutting.

The centers, also known as neighborhood city halls, get no funds in Mayor Dave Bing’s proposed budget.

Their functions—like organizing the annual Angel’s Night and Motor City Makeover campaigns—will be shifted to neighborhood recreation centers.

But Detroit City Council members question how that transition will work without any funding. Bing’s proposed budget eliminates funding for several city departments.

Council member Saunteel Jenkins says she understands the need to cut costs—but her concerns extend beyond the community access centers.

“For not one of these departments that have been zeroed out, have you all said, ‘Here is our actual plan,’"  Jenkins told representatives from Bing's office Tuesday. "And that is disturbing for me.”

Administration officials say specific consolidation plans are still in the works. But they acknowledge some services will have to be eliminated.

“As it relates to the community access centers—we will blend [them] in to the rec centers,” Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis told Council. “The key is: what are the functions that we will blend in, and what will be the functions that we will not be able to provide? And that’s the piece that we’re working on right now.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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