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Duggan's sixth State of the City address put spotlight on jobs

City of Detroit
via Twitter

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s annual state of the city speech Tuesday night focused on jobs — specifically, on “creating job opportunities for everyone” in the city.

Duggan touted several of his administration’s jobs initiatives, including his Detroit At Work program and a youth summer employment program.

Duggan also touted some big employers the city has landed over the past year. That includes Ford, who will redevelop the long-abandoned Michigan Central Station as part of a “mobility corridor” that it says will bring about 5,000 jobs to the city.

More recently, the city and Fiat-Chrysler announced tentative plans to revive its idled Mack Avenue Engine Plant and expand it into an assembly line plant to make Jeeps. But first, the city needs to buy 170 acres of land from a handful of owners to give FCA the space it needs for the facility.

Duggan says it will take some “heavy lifting,” but he’s confident the deal will get done.

“We’ve got to get the land — we can’t force anybody — we’ve got to have clear title, we’ve got to solve our environmental issues,” Duggan said. “And [then] FCA is going to agree to add 5000 jobs at $58,000 a year.”

Duggan says no residents will be displaced by land purchases for the project. The plant would be the city of Detroit’s first new car factory since the 1980s.

Duggan also announced plans to build what he called “the most extensive and modern camera system in the country” as a way to fight crime.

Duggan proposes hooking traffic light cameras into the Detroit Police Department’s Project Greenlight camera system. That would let officers at police headquarters’ real-time crime center monitor criminal activity, or given them important leads

“By the end of 2020, we’ll have a 1,000-camera network,” Duggan said. “If you’re engaged in a shooting, you’re engaged in a carjacking, that call is going to go out, and we are going to track you.”

Duggan says the plan is to push monitoring capabilities outside police headquarters to police precincts across the city.

Duggan also defended his administration’s sweeping demolitions program, which he says has brought down 17,000 vacant and blighted homes.

Duggan admitted the program, which is the subject of a federal investigation, has had some problems because of the speed at which it moved. But Duggan says whatever “mistakes” have been made are worth it.

Duggan said the city is “on track” to either demolish or board up every vacant property in the city by the end of this year. “We are going to continue moving on demolition in a responsible way,” he said.

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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