News / USA

    Detroit Residents Not Surprised by Bankruptcy

    Detroit Residents Not Surprised by City’s Bankruptcyi
    X
    July 22, 2013 8:37 PM
    Although Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing made headlines around the world, it was no surprise to the long-suffering residents of that U.S. city. Those who live there endure long police and fire response times, amid the blight and urban decay of a city that once was the fourth largest in the United States. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Detroit, some residents see the city’s bankruptcy as a fresh start.
    Detroit Residents Not Surprised by City’s Bankruptcy
    Although Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing made headlines around the world, it was no surprise to the long-suffering residents of that U.S. city. Those who live there endure long police and fire response times, amid the blight and urban decay of a city that once was the fourth largest in the United States. But some residents see the city’s bankruptcy as a fresh start.

    While more than 1 million people have left over the last 50 years, lifelong resident John George decided to stay in Detroit, and he watched it hit rock bottom.

    “The good news about hitting rock bottom is sometimes you get a bounce, and that’s what we’re looking for.  A bounce from the bottom back up, you really can’t go too much farther than a bankruptcy to hit rock bottom,” he said.

    The streets of this neighborhood are a symbol of Detroit’s rock bottom.  Homes once populated with middle class families, with cars in each driveway and bikes on each sidewalk, have been replaced with piles of garbage and burned out ruins.

    As founder of the charitable organization called Motor City Blight Busters, John George’s mission is to tear down things that once were the soul of this neighborhood - now abandoned and neglected - so they don’t encourage crime, vandalism or fire.

    He said he’s seen enough hardship in Detroit to not be surprised by the city’s bankruptcy filing.

    “Detroit needs a second chance, and I think that, by filing that Chapter 9, that is our second chance,” said George.

    “This is an economic shot heard around the world," said University of Michigan Law Professor John Pottow. He said the eyes of the world were upon Detroit, and how its leaders and residents responded to the financial crisis, because other municipalities could suffer the same fate.

    “There’s public deficits in every major European country right now.  You know, the Greek crisis as well.  So they’re seeing this as maybe the canary in their own coal mine about what’s going to happen in the future, and they want to see what happens,” he said.

    What John George saw happening was the city reinventing itself as something more than just the home of the U.S. auto industry. 

    “Buildings and people and cities go in cycles, and for Detroit, it’s our time for us to cycle out of this negative time, and cycle into something better, something more stable, more revitalized, more beautified,” he said.

    Along with shedding its crippling debt, George wanted to see Detroit improve services, decrease crime and shorten response times by emergency workers.

    And with the blight removed, maybe, just maybe these streets will see new life again, reminiscent of the fond memories of John George’s childhood.

    “If it’s clean and safe, we can attract new families, young families, and I think that will happen in time," he said.

    In the meantime, John George is doing his part to help the effort, tearing down Detroit’s urban blight, one street, one house at a time.

    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Alaska Man
    July 23, 2013 6:47 PM
    I love michigan , and think that michigen can and should sell Detroit to Canada for a $1.....they will fix it for sure

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    July 22, 2013 11:34 PM
    A small town near my resience has been bankrupted several years ago. Major part of resients left the town and those who remain there have been suffering the burden of huge financial debts. Social utilities are downsized and social services are cut, eventhough tax rate are raised. There is no finantial aids from government so that the town should keep paying for its debts for about twenty years.

    But I am sure Detroit is located in good conditions for some industries. I am sure the residents are resilient enough to achieve their responsibility to restore a prosperous city again. Good luch, Detroit !

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora