Interesting Times in Detroit

The year is almost over. 2008 in Detroit was the kind of year that someone was thinking of when they came up with the curse, "May you live in interesting times." Some folks in this town are dwelling on the negative or even planning a move to Dubai.

As for me, I take a more balanced outlook towards things. With that in mind, I present a look back at 2008 in my hometown.

The Detroit Lions are the worst team in NFL history. However, the Detroit Red Wings won yet another Stanly Cup this year. The Detroit Tigers turned in a respectable performance. The Detroit Pistons came this close to another NBA Championship.

Kwame Kilpatrick is in jail, but that saga is over. Now Detroiters get to look at everyone in Illinois and know that they're dealing with things that are much worse.

The Detroit Public Schools are broke. However, Detroit still has charter schools, parochial schools, private schools and home schooling.

Kirsten Haglund from Farmington Hills became Miss America 2008. She secured the title that her grandmother competed for in 1944. With her win, Kirsten Haglund showed the world what I've known for years - there are some seriously hot women in the Detroit area.

A few houses sold for $1 (plus back taxes & assorted fees that drove the final price up to around $6K). Everything else is selling for a fraction of what it would've been worth two years ago. The important thing is that real estate prices are slowly beginning to rebound.

Detroit's unemployment is the highest in the nation. No getting around that one. The promising part is between things like the Westin Book Cadillac and Ft. Shelby Hotel re-openings, the umpteen new restaurants, the auto bail out happening and dozens of major motion pictures coming to town (each spending tens of millions), there's a decent chance that things will get better soon.

Major festivals either got severely scaled back or canceled. The one bit of good news is that the NCAA Final Four is still coming to Ford Field in April. That will bring in more cash than all of those festivals combined.

2008 could've been better, but it also could've been a lot worse.

To all of those who are screaming about Detroit's demise, I simply say this: It's okay to recognize the things have gone wrong. You can't fix them if you don't. Just don't dwell too much on the negatives. If you do, you'll miss all of the cool stuff.


Terese said…
Speaking of Kwame, did you hear about the play Second City is doing? "Kwame a River: The Chronicles of Detroit's Hip-Hop Mayor"
I can't help but laugh at the name!
FrankNemecek said…
I heard about it and I damn near wet myself when I did.

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