Excerpt:

Santa Fe, of course, isn’t the only city in the country facing hurdles in trying to rethink a dated business model. Last week, SFR attended the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s annual convention, hosted in an oft-cited king of failed American cities: Detroit. During the recession, the once-booming metropolis became synonymous with Great Depression-level unemployment rates, auto industry bailouts and high crime rates.

But while the city’s overall population declined by 25 percent between 2000 and 2010, during the same period, downtown Detroit reaped major gains in a category that Santa Fe might envy: a 59-percent increase in young professionals under 35. Santa Fe’s share of residents aged 20-35 declined from 19 percent to 16 percent during this past decade.

In order to cope with the influx of a younger workforce, Jeff Aronoff created D:Hive, a community and business hub in downtown Detroit that serves as a one-stop shop for young people in the city. As executive director, Aronoff assists them with job, housing and quality-of-life resources. Like many of Detroit’s other economic development initiatives, D:Hive, which formally launched last month, is funded primarily by a grant from a local foundation (in this case, a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the Hudson-Webber Foundation). Foundations, supported largely by money from the once-booming auto industry, are still a mainstay in southeast Michigan.

D:Hive is located in downtown Detroit, where most of the city’s economic development is taking place. But it’s not always visible: Vacant skyscrapers and boarded-up storefronts still populate the city. Generally, Aronoff says, around 50,000 of the city’s roughly 700,000 total residents are young professionals. Much of the remaining population still experiences a low quality of life.

“A lot of development is clustered in small areas,” Aronoff tells SFR. “But you have to build in small areas before you can address all of your weaknesses.”

Some of those areas may be geographic; others are demographic. For instance, Detroit is building on an existing strength: its large immigrant population. In 2010, the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan commissioned a study that found that between 1997 and 2007, immigrants living in the area were three times more likely to start their own businesses than non-immigrants. Between 40 and 60 percent of all students in the Detroit area who are studying for advanced degrees in mathematics are immigrants, Athena Trentin, a program director at Michigan’s University Research Corridor, tells SFR.

The Global Talent Retention Initiative of Southeast Michigan, which Trentin leads, builds off that study by finding ways to retain international residents in Detroit. Immigration has large implications for the city’s tech industry, she says, which is the fastest growing in the nation.

Another economic development initiative, Hatch Detroit, resembles the recent business-plan competition held by MIX Santa Fe, but doles out more money ($50,000 compared to MIX’s $10,000 prize) and focuses specifically on retail businesses.

But in Detroit, as in Santa Fe, economic redevelopment efforts also have their particular challenges—namely, ensuring that every sector of a recession-hit economy is included in its recovery.

Click HERE to read the full article on SF Reporter (dot) com!


Hatch Detroit has announced it will accept applications for its 2012 retail business competition beginning June 1 through Aug. 1.

The contest is open to anyone with an idea for opening a retail business within the City of Detroit. This year, with support from Comerica Bank, the competition will continue to work toward building a strong community and creating vibrant and dynamic retail businesses in Detroit.

Applicants must provide a summary that describes their business idea and its potential impact on Detroit, as well as background for each team member. After all the applications are submitted Aug. 1, Hatch will narrow down the pool to 10 applicants and the public will vote on the $50,000 winner. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive a package of services including legal, marketing and advertising and IT support.

Finalists will also be exposed to potential investors, collaborators and the community at large. “We are excited to kick off the second year of Hatch Detroit. The ideas are endless and the opportunity for participants is even bigger this year with the help of Comerica Bank and the generous support they’ve contributed to fund the next winner,” said Nick Gorga, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. “Being a part of the contest helps inspire entrepreneurs to pursue opening a retail business in Detroit with community support.”

“Comerica is committed to supporting small businesses in the City of Detroit,” said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “We hope that our investment encourages others to find creative ways to improve our region.”

In addition to the competition, Hatch Detroit plans to support retail businesses in several Detroit neighborhoods with grassroots improvement projects during the next six months. All applications must be submitted online. For complete submission guidelines and contest rules, visit www.hatchdetroit.com.

Hatch Detroit launched its inaugural competition in 2011 with overwhelming success. Hatch received more than 250 applications, and through social media and grassroots efforts, the public helped select the winner – Hugh, a home furnishings shop featuring classic bachelor pad style. Hugh received $50,000 in addition to a suite of donated services from individuals and companies to help the business “hatch” and thrive. Hugh will open in fall 2012.

Many of the 2011 finalists are also in the process of opening retail stores in Detroit. Hatch Detroit is a Michigan based 501(c)(3) organization that champions and supports independent retail businesses in Detroit through funding contests, education, exposure, and mentoring. Hatch Detroit was co-founded by Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, Detroit natives who are passionate about the revitalization of the city and inspiring others in the community to create change.

Like a significant percentage of Americans, I waste huge amounts of time trolling various social networks. 99% of what I read is truly useless, stealing hours upon hours that I will never get back. But every so often I come across something that is worthy of sharing. Or, writing a Forbes post about.

Today’s nugget was this article about Detroit’s hiring market. As recent as three or four months ago, you might have expected to click the link and see news about yet another population retraction or spiking unemployment.

But, no. Not this time. Turns out 27% of Detroit employers plan on adding staff, compared to only 5% who plan on reducing. Those numbers are fifth best in the nation.

You read that right. Detroit ranks fifth in the nation for third-quarter hiring projections.

Nationally, Detroit is riding a wave of goodwill. Perhaps it started with Chrysler’s “Imported From Detroit” campaign a couple of Super Bowls ago. And who knows, maybe my film “Lemonade: Detroit” contributed in some small way toward shifting the dialogue away from pity and toward hope and optimism.

Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, Detroit is beginning to realize the potential it always knew it had. Potential the rest of the nation doubted was even there.

Backed by a resurgent automotive industry and a long line of companies moving all or part of their operations downtown (Chrysler did it. So did Quicken Loans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Lambert Edwards Public Relations, and countless small/entrepreneurial businesses), Detroit is now one of the best cities in the country to be a job hunter.

Click HERE to read the full article by Erik Proulx on Forbs (dot) com!
Here are some things that are not abandoned in
Detroit's handsome downtown.
Photo: Associated Press


On a solo bike ride along the fringes of downtown Detroit, gliding past the ghostly shells of buildings long since abandoned, two things occurred to me: One, these buildings are really spectacular. Two? I am riding my bike on the sidewalk. Something I could never do in New York.

The reason was simple enough. When touring a city of about 700,000 people that was built to hold at least 1 million more, you can go ahead and take all the space you need.

The streets may have appeared a little lonely at first, but when I did encounter people, they seemed extraordinarily cheerful and friendly. As I biked past total strangers walking their dogs, or chatting with their neighbors, they unfailingly looked up and waved, like we were in a small town. Maybe that’s the best way to sum up what I saw in Detroit. One part urban blight. One part something like buried treasure. And really, really friendly.

Detroit is not a place I had ever felt compelled to visit, but these days, it’s hard to open a magazine or newspaper without seeing yet another article on the Motor City. Some of them say it’s the end, almost reveling in its death, celebrating the abandonment. Others insist this is a town poised for a comeback, some say it’s already coming back and is being ruined by hipsters; still more don’t know what to think. Which is why I was here — I simply wanted to see this big old metropolis for myself.

On arrival, I did the same double-take most people seem to do when they get here: Detroit is one of the country’s most handsome cities, brimming with great architecture. Yes, some of it’s empty — like, say, the magnificent Michigan Central Station in Corktown, which hasn’t had a train pull out since the 1980s, but manages to remain one of the city’s premier attractions. (Imagine if Grand Central, designed in the same style by the same architectural firm, was abandoned; this gives you an idea of just how big and impressive a building we’re talking about.)

Click HERE to read the full story on the New York Post (dot) com! 
The Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area will be one of the strongest job markets in the country in the July-through-September third quarter, according to the quarterly Employment Outlook Survey from the Milwaukee, Wis.-based temporary help firm Manpower Inc.

From July to September, 27 percent of Detroit-area employers interviewed plan to hire more employees, while only 5 percent of employers expect to reduce staff. Another 68 percent expect to maintain their current work force levels.

That yields a Net Employment Outlook — the number that plan to add staff minus the number who plan to cut — of plus 22 percent. That’s the fifth best of any region in the nation.

“The employment forecast for the third quarter is considerably healthier compared to the second quarter of 2012 when the Net Employment Outlook was 10 percent,” said Manpower spokesman Eric Jones. “Employers also expect significantly improved employment prospects compared with one year ago when the Net Employment Outlook was 3 percent.”

For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in the Detroit area in construction, manufacturing (both durable goods and non-durable goods), transportation and utilities, wholesale and retail trade, financial activities, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality and other services.

Click HERE to read the full article on CBS Detroit!
The Short Order: Chef Dave Mancini's Guide to Detroit 



The man behind Eastern Market's can't-miss pizza lists his summertime musts in the Motor City, proving that indeed, Detroit Lives



Photo: David Lewinski Photography 


Chef Dave Mancini Is Known For:  Running the show at Detroit's Supino Pizzeria, the best thin-crust pizza in a city overrun by thick crust pies.

Off The Menu:  You can find him sailing the Detroit River or Northern Michigan's Lake Charlevoix. 

Detroit In His Words: "I've lived here for 17 years, moving downtown for graduate school and I really loved it from the get-go.  It's not for everybody, and we do have many challenges, but there is a spirit here that is becoming more and more infectious.  The last few years have seen an influx of expat artists and entrepreneurs from all over and the mixture of creative energy from the folks that has been here with the new blood is making this a really exciting place to be right now." 

Click HERE to find out Dave's 12 'Detroit Summertime Musts' on GQ (dot) com!

Both the number of homes sold and home prices in the Detroit area rose in May from year-ago levels, according to the Farmington Hills-based real estate information firm Realcomp II Ltd.

The total number of residential and condo sales rose 11.4 percent from a year earlier, from 5,679 units to 6,325 units. The median sale price in the region jumped 21.2 percent from a year ago, from $66,850 in May 2011 to $81,000 in May 2012.

Homes were selling quicker compared to a year ago, with the average days on the market for a home falling to 84 days from 97 a year earlier. And the inventory on the market fell to 27,227, down 17.6 percent from 33,029 a year earlier. About 13 percent of the inventory (3,652) is comprised of properties identified as foreclosures. Another 22 percent of the inventory (5,897) is comprised of properties identified as short sales.

Click HERE to read the full article on CBS Detroit! 


On Saturday, June 16, Foster The People invites fans and local Detroit residents to join in on an afternoon of volunteering at The Heidelberg Project to support Detroit’s under-resourced community. From 9:30 to 4 p.m. volunteers will help transform the abandoned burnt homes on Mt. Elliot between Mack and Benson Street into artistic symbols of a bright vision for the future.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a volunteer destination on the Foster The Future’s Do Good Project tour,” said Amanda Sansoterra, “Our efforts will not only benefit the residents of the community, but show the neighborhood children that by doing something good it can foster a sense of pride in their community.”

In an effort to inspire fans to give back in their communities, Foster The People has created a Do Good Project for the second year in a row to benefit local charities along their North American summer tour.

“The response and commitment from our fans last summer was truly inspiring and beyond our expectations,” said lead singer Mark Foster. “This year we wanted to challenge the Do Good team to find unique ways to attract even more volunteers to make an even bigger impact in each city we visit.”

In response to the challenge, Do Good has scheduled a variety of volunteer projects, from school restoration initiatives to large-scale community art projects. The tour will continue across North America, ending in Las Vegas, Nev., on Saturday, July 7. For more information on how to volunteer and for monetary donations, please visit www.fosterthefuture.com.

ABOUT THE HEIDELBERG PROJECT

The Heidelberg Project is a 501 (c) 3 Detroit-based community organization designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Our mission is to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of their greater community. For more information, please visit www.heidelberg.org

ABOUT DO GOOD

Do Good, an initiative of Glue Projects, promises altruistic adventurism by bringing people together to help local causes in a fun and social environment. During each event, Do Good strives to create awareness for local causes, create community amongst volunteers and prove the power of working together to make a difference. For more information, please contact Rebecca Pontius at rebecca@glueprojects.com or visit www.glueprojects.com/DoGood.

ABOUT FOSTER THE PEOPLE

Los Angeles based indie-pop trio, Foster The People, released their chart-topping, acclaimed debut Torches in May 2011. The album, which includes the 4x platinum single “Pumped Up Kicks,” catapulted the band into a whirlwind of successes leading into 2012’s GRAMMY nominations for “Best Alternative Album” and “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.” Foster The People is currently completing their second world tour this spring/summer. For more information on Foster The People visit: www.fosterthepeople.com


I am giving away 5 pairs of tickets to an advanced screening of the movie, "Your Sister's Sister" at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak on June 20th.

Please email me at positivedetroit@gmail.com.  The first five people to respond win!






Tickets can be purchased at www.brownpaperbagtickets.com keyword: Unscripted. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
Join the fun this summer as Downtown Milford hosts a variety of summertime events sure to fit the interests of everyone. The southwestern Oakland County destination sets the scene for live music, eclectic shopping and festivals galore.

“Downtown Milford has everything you need to kickoff the summer,” said Ann Barnette, executive director of Milford’s Downtown Development Authority. “Whether you want to shop in our stores, dine in our restaurants or enjoy some music in Central Park, Milford has a niche for everyone.”

On Thursdays, the place to be is downtown for the Milford Farmers’ Market. The market offers live music, cooking demonstrations, special events and of course Michigan-based farmers, producers and artisans. It runs from 3-8 p.m. every Thursday through Oct. 18.

Center Street Park will be filled with music and art on the fourth Friday of each month. The Milford Downtown Development Authority and Huron Valley Council for the Arts will present Friday Night Live at the Center Street Park gazebo from 7-9 p.m. Concert-goers will enjoy free musical concerts and have the chance to browse works by local artists.

The series that began May 25 with rock and pop group, Expanse of the Unknown, will be followed by three other concerts, including: Multi-instrumentalist Gary Weisenburg on June 22, highlights of the Los Amigos Band on July 27 and a capella vocalists 4 GVN and the Perfect 5th on August 24.

Beginning June 7, music fans are invited to gather downtown at Central Park for the season’s first show of Milford’s Summer Concert Series. The series will bring live music into the downtown corridor at 7 p.m. Thursdays and continues weekly through August 23.

This year’s acts will include: Billy Mack and The Juke Joint Johnnies on June 7; Nick Palise and Sovereign Blues on June 14; Paisley Fogg on June 21; Motor City Brass on June 28; Dave Gerald on July 5; Steve King and The Dittilies on July 12; Wildfire Country Band on July 19; Jill Jack Band on July 26; Kimmie Horn on August 2 and Gemini on August 23.

New this year, the Milford Business Association will present Milford’s Summer Palooza! Mark your calendars for this three-day event, scheduled for July 13-15. Main Street, between Commerce and Liberty, will be filled with sidewalk sales Friday-Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event also includes face painting and inflatables for the children. The Main Street Grill will host entertainment and a beer tent Friday and Saturday night.

As August rolls around, Milford prepares for its annual summer bash, the Milford Memories Summer Festival. This year’s event, the 21st annual, is set to take over downtown from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from Aug. 12-14.

Milford Memories features Art in the Village, including artists and crafters from across the U.S. and Canada, a Civil War encampment, euchre tournament, hot pepper eating contest, beer tent and live music by bands like Gemini and The Icemen. Watch teams canoe an obstacle course down the Huron River blind-folded. Join in the One-Mile Fun Run or a 5K or 10K.



In 2011, an AMEX survey found 64% of homeowners planned to embark on a home improvement project, focusing on do-it-yourself projects and spending an average of $3,400. Eric Stromer will show homeowners they can demand everything and compromise nothing because home improvement can be easy and doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

Eric Stromer is a popular name in home improvement with his roots as a 20-year veteran contractor, and is currently seen by millions of television viewers. This July, Stromer launches a new show on A&E, “Hideous Houses.” Stromer previously hosted the HGTV hit show “Over Your Head.” People magazine named Stromer one of its "Sexiest Men Alive."

Saturday, June 9 12:00pm -2:00pm
 Lowe’s Home Improvement
 2000 Metropolitan Parkway
Sterling Heights


The Gorilla Challenge, a nationwide competition, will be held in Detroit on June 16, 2012 and will charity spotlight the Gleaners Community Food Bank, an organization that works to fight hunger in the area.

The Gorilla Challenge will make it’s way to Detroit on June 16, 2012. The competition is a combination of both physical and mental challenge that entails decoding clues and racing through downtown in order to win prizes and competing in a food drive and costume contest. In addition, the event provides the opportunity for participants to support a local, charitable organization.

“The goal of the challenge is not only to race around for prizes, ” said Danial Abassi. “It’s all about getting the community involved and communicating about the causes and issues that are locally relevant.”



The Charity Spotlight of the race will be on The Gleaners Community Food Bank whose work over the last 35 years has helped alleviate hunger in the Detroit community by providing the equivalent of 85,284 meals per day to people who otherwise cannot afford the food they need.


Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place competitors who complete the challenge. The challengers who raise the most for the food drive as well as the winner and runner-up of the costume contest will also receive rewards.

The key to winning the challenge is solving the clues, mapping them out, and taking the shortest distance to each checkpoint. An optional costume competition will also be in full effect.

The starting point will be The Hard Rock Café on 45 Monroe Street. It is recommended that participants arrive at 9:30am for the 11:00am start of the 3-hour challenge.

Click HERE to learn more about Gorilla Challenge: Detroit.

About Gorilla Challenge: The Gorilla Challenge is an Amazing Race/Fear Factor mash up that provides competitors nationwide with a mentally and physically challenging competition while giving back to the city in which it is held through food bank donations and local Charity Spotlights.
50 best Chinese restaurants in the United States

You've been abroad. You know your way around a pair of chopsticks. Now where do you find the best Chinese food in the U.S.?


Michigan 

 26. Best China, Canton 

Best China really is the best in Michigan. With less than a dozen tables, it's a hole-in-the-wall, but the Shanghai-style rice cakes (nian gao) achieve the perfect level of chewiness without being gummy. There are two menus -- Chinese and English. As at any authentic Chinese place, adventurous eaters can ask for the Chinese menu (they’re usually differ slightly from the English menu) and get recommendations from waiters. 7233 N. Lilley Road, Canton, Mich.; +1 734 459 1688

Click HERE to read the full article on CNNGo (dot) com!

CNBC: Detroit, From Urban Blight to Tech Might



Can technological might reduce urban blight?


Business and civic leaders in Detroit certainly hope so.

The city’s troubles are well documented. The auto industry’s decline highlighted a population and brain drain that made Detroit one of the lasting symbols of the Great Recession.

In July of 2009, unemployment in the city touched 18-percent.

Now?

A stubborn 10.5 percent. But a whole lot better, and one reason for the positive trend: Technology jobs.

“The energy in the city, what’s happening, the things that are taking place, it feels like it’s not a tipping point. It feels past it,” said 38-year old Scott Aberle, who left San Francisco and Silicon Valley to work at Detroit-based Quicken Loans. “We’re really in the midst of a Renaissance.”

That’s right. He said Renaissance.

It might be laying it on a little thick … or maybe not.

Detroit native and chairman of Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert, has been buying up just about all the viable commercial real estate he can find. And when he’s not remodeling what his company has purchased, Gilbert’s using his venture capital firm, Detroit Venture Partners, to seed a mini-boom in start-up technology companies.

“Technology as a whole can create value and wealth a whole lot quicker,” Gilbert said. “With manufacturing, it takes five to seven years from conception to building a plant.

“In the tech business, the time frame is shorter and the investment of capital is smaller.”

For example, the firm they simply call DVP recently took an old theatre’s office building and retrofitted it to be an avant garde space for early stage start-ups. It is named “M@dison”, and ironically, the homage must have worked because Twitter just took up some space there.

Click HERE to read the full article on CNBC (dot) com!



Please join the Belle Isle Conservancy in a gala fundraiser, "Race to Reopen the Belle Isle Aquarium" that will take place in the Aquarium on Thursday, May 31st from 7 to 11. 

Tickets are $50 and the money raised will go directly toward opening the aquarium regularly!

There will be strolling hors d'oeuvres from The Whitney and Union Street, music, entertainment, refreshments and a cash bar.

PLEASE JOIN US FOR THIS ONE OF A KIND EVENT!



This inaugural gathering will feature live music, a delicious pig roast from Eastern Market, and tasty campfire treats surrounding a bonfire setting with the rippling river as the backdrop.

Come join us with friends or colleagues for the launch of Rivière28 and this unique opportunity to enjoy your Detroit Riverfront.

$15 online registration
$20 at the door

To RSVP: www.detroitriverfront.org/riviere28

Parking is available on Atwater between Orleans St. & St. Aubin

Important 

This event is BYOBB (booze and blankets) you can come by boat and utilize one of the boat slips at Milliken State Park.  Think Pine Knob back in the old school days when you could bring coolers and blankets. Except at this event, food is provided!

In Detroit, a city where bad news has long outweighed good, a group of young urban pioneers is bringing the community together around excellent barbecue and fabulous coffee and cocktails.

Even without floors or glass in the windows, there is something quietly captivating about Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. Opened in 1913, it is a grand, imposing structure, with heroic Corinthian columns created by the architects behind New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. But like so many buildings in Detroit, it has been abandoned. When Amtrak moved out, Michigan Central closed in 1988. It has sat empty, slowly decaying, ever since.

Detroit is a place where bad news has long outweighed good. The city took a big hit when the Big Three auto companies moved their manufacturing plants out to the suburbs in the 1940s and ’50s, it was devastated by the riots of 1967 and it was hit again by the mortgage crisis and recession of 2008. It seems naive to think that anything as simple as good food could help reverse decades of decline.

Detroit Restaurants: Daisuke Hughes and Phil Cooley
Photo © Marcus Nilsson.

But just across Roosevelt Park from Michigan Central Station, on a single block of Michigan Avenue, that’s exactly what’s happening. Families from all over the state wait for a table at the excellent Slows Bar BQ; musicians hang out over meticulously made pour-over coffees at Astro Coffee; locals and suburbanites come for craft cocktails at The Sugar House. A good food-and-drink scene isn’t the only thing this community needs, but it’s one of them. “There is so much work to do here in Detroit,” says Phil Cooley, Slows’s co-owner. “But I thought, I’m gonna bite off a chunk of it.”

Cooley, 34, is one of a growing number of people who have come to Detroit in recent years, attracted by the potential they see in the vacant lots, abandoned buildings and bare-bones cost of living. After working as a model in Chicago and Europe, Cooley moved to Detroit in 2002, bought a loft in the Corktown neighborhood and made a living as a janitor and barback around town. The rundown building next door to his apartment was deserted, so he bought it for $40,000 with the idea of turning it into a restaurant. He and his brother Ryan, along with executive chef and co-owner Brian Perrone and sous-chef Michael Metevia, renovated the space for $300,000, using mostly reclaimed wood from the original building. “We built the kitchen first and then hung up a dust cloth, so Brian would test recipes while we were finishing the dining room,” says Cooley. “He’d bring out food for us to taste as we worked.”

Click HERE to read the full article on Food & Wine (dot) com!

Funding from Detroit SOUP helped a 5th grade class beautify a city park.

In our weekly Hustlin' series, we go beyond the pitying articles about recession-era youth and illuminate ways our generation is coping. The last few years may have been a rude awakening, but we're surviving. Here's how.

On a recent episode of the HBO show “Girls,” Hannah moans to her quasi-boyfriend over the phone from her Midwest hometown: “Why doesn’t everyone struggling in New York move here and start the revolution? It’s like we’re all slaves to this place that doesn’t even really want us.”

Hannah could have been talking about Detroit, which Salon recently dubbed “the official cool-kids destination,” part of a broader trend of educated Millennials moving to Rust Belt cities and towns. A few decades ago, it would have been unthinkable that such people would want to live in Detroit, where white flight, postindustrial decline, and the sub-prime mortgage crisis have resulted in nearly one-third of property sitting empty and boarded shut. But where there’s blight, there’s also cheap rent and vacant lots: ideal habitats for young creatives and their funky art collectives or urban farms.

But Salon’s writer, Will Doig, paints the new Detroiters as pursuing a “romantic fantasy” of “Rust Belt chic,” pointing to a hipsterish lust for “ruin porn.” He echoes many critics of Detroit’s recent “brain gain”: that job-creation, not an influx of creatives, is the real answer to urban decline.

There may be some “creative class” boosterism going on in Detroit, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t also authentic, sophisticated projects in motion. I recently visited Detroit for two weeks and met with some of its newcomers. Many are starting up social enterprises while others are working in creative sectors like advertising. And while they do appreciate the low rent and cost of living in the Motor City, these new, young Detroiters are far from self-absorbed hipsters. In fact, their work is having a meaningful impact on the city’s economy and culture.

Thirty-year-old Amy Kaherl was raised in Detroit’s suburbs. She spent three years in Los Angeles doing a master’s in theology, while living frugally in a shared one-bedroom apartment. When Kaherl finished her degree in 2008, unemployment was inching toward nine percent. Moving back to Detroit, where Kaherl knew life would be cheaper, she fell into a community of people like her, who wanted to have fun while being involved in innovative projects.

“The people here are cool, and the ego’s left at the door,” she told me. “I know New York, I know L.A. You gotta hustle. This is the place where you try to make something happen.”

Kaherl now runs Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner that charges five dollars for a plate of home-cooked food to generate seed funding for a selected project that promises to positively impact Detroit. Projects funded by SOUP include a park clean-up day for schoolchildren, a homeless outreach program, and a community-run radio station. At first, Kahrel was volunteering, but as SOUP, and Detroit’s overall revitalization, attracted national media attention, a grant came in from the Knight Foundation that allowed Kaherl to fully focus on SOUP.

Click HERE to read the full article on Good (dot) is!

It started, Mark Penxa says, as a tribute to his grandfather -- an artistic "journey through American sports lore" that featured special renderings of famous athletes, and ones long forgotten.

Called Stealing Signs, the first part featured baseball: 100 paintings and sketches, similar to the Derek Jeter. Then came hockey: 76 of them. All offered special elements -- stats, names, other items -- and their slightly abstract style set them apart from straight-up portraits.

Now Penxa, a Detroit-area native who also works at a screen and printing shop, is embarking on his most ambitious project yet: a visual "road trip" from state to state, inspired by stories and suggestions from readers and fans who were touched by his original works. He's going beyond baseball this time, too. All sports are open. All eras, too.

Recently we caught up via email with Penxa, who has "visited" Pennsylvania so far on his trip. New Jersey is underway. New York is coming in July.

And he knows he's got a long, long way to go to get through all 50 -- it'll take years. So suggestions are welcome on his Facebook page (portraits can be purchased, as well).

Tell me about the beginning of the project.

The project started off as a thank-you card to my grandfather. He had been sick for a long time and getting worse. Baseball was the center of our conversations since I was little, he took me to every Tigers game that he could and we would watch every game together.

There was a gap where I wasn't around very much because of traveling and work and the usual day-to-day stuff. I hadn't watched a game with him or heard one of his stories in a long time, and now his memory was really bad and communication was limited to handshakes, hugs and tears. So, I painted a portrait of Al Kaline (seen below is a remake of the original), then Jim Northrup, Hank Greenberg, Norm Cash and so on, to serve as visual flash cards. It was the only way I could think of to still talk about baseball.

After I did those initial paintings, I couldn't stop making them and before I knew it, I had over 100 of them scattered across my apartment floor. So, I put them online on my personal site just to have new content and one day [ESPN Playbook writer] Paul Lukas mentioned it on his Uni Watch blog. The next thing I knew, I was receiving emails from all over the world with people telling me their stories about what their dads and grandfathers told them. It was amazing.

Click HERE to read the rest of this story on ESPN (dot) com!

We asked bloggers nationwide to share can't-miss, off-the-beaten-path summer destinations in their home states. Here's the ultimate list of sites to see, places to shop, and plans to make before September.

Michigan
Honor & Folly, a tiny inn in Detroit's historic Corktown, charms guests and locals alike with its creative design, great location, and even cooking classes. The two-bedroom apartment sits above popular eatery Slows Bar-B-Q and is decorated with goods made by Detroit- and other Midwest-based designers and artisans — much of which is for sale.

"The food and drink options aren't limited to barbecue — there's a craft cocktail bar (The Sugar House), an independent coffee shop (Astro Coffee) that sells out-of-this-world baked goods, and a gourmet burger joint (Mercury Burger Bar) across the street," says culinary adventuress Noëlle Lothamer, of Simmer Down.

2132 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI; for inquiries and reservations, email honorfolly@gmail.com


Click HERE to read more: Things To Do This Summer - Plans and Destinations for Summer from Country Living!

Hatch Detroit has announced it will accept applications for its 2012 retail business competition beginning June 1 through Aug. 1.

The contest is open to anyone with an idea for opening a retail business within the City of Detroit.

This year, with support from Comerica Bank, the competition will continue to work toward building a strong community and creating vibrant and dynamic retail businesses in Detroit. Applicants must provide a summary that describes their business idea and its potential impact on Detroit, as well as background for each team member. After all the applications are submitted Aug. 1, Hatch will narrow down the pool to 10 applicants and the public will vote on the $50,000 winner. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive a package of services including legal, marketing and advertising and IT support. Finalists will also be exposed to potential investors, collaborators and the community at large.

“We are excited to kick off the second year of Hatch Detroit. The ideas are endless and the opportunity for participants is even bigger this year with the help of Comerica Bank and the generous support they’ve contributed to fund the next winner,” said Nick Gorga, co-founder of Hatch Detroit. “Being a part of the contest helps inspire entrepreneurs to pursue opening a retail business in Detroit with community support.”

“Comerica is committed to supporting small businesses in the City of Detroit,” said Thomas D. Ogden, president, Comerica Bank-Michigan. “We hope that our investment encourages others to find creative ways to improve our region.”

In addition to the competition, Hatch Detroit plans to support retail businesses in several Detroit neighborhoods with grassroots improvement projects during the next six months.

All applications must be submitted online. For complete submission guidelines and contest rules, visit www.hatchdetroit.com.

Hatch Detroit launched its inaugural competition in 2011 with overwhelming success. Hatch received more than 250 applications, and through social media and grassroots efforts, the public helped select the winner – Hugh, a home furnishings shop featuring classic bachelor pad style. Hugh received $50,000 in addition to a suite of donated services from individuals and companies to help the business “hatch” and thrive. Hugh will open in fall 2012. Many of the 2011 finalists are also in the process of opening retail stores in Detroit.

Hatch Detroit is a Michigan based 501(c)(3) organization that champions and supports independent retail businesses in Detroit through funding contests, education, exposure, and mentoring. Hatch Detroit was co-founded by Nick Gorga and Ted Balowski, Detroit natives who are passionate about the revitalization of the city and inspiring others in the community to create change.


Just before crowds of music fans gather from across the globe to attend the Movement: Electronic Music Festival in Hart Plaza, the party begins when the Detroit Historical Society pays tribute to those who have shaped the city’s musical past.

From 8-11 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, all are invited to Woodward Plaza outside of the Detroit Historical Museum, 5401 Woodward Ave., to share in one of Detroit’s most treasured stories as the birthplace of techno. The Movement and Renovation Kickoff will be set to the sounds of World Class DJ and Planet-E Communications founder, Carl Craig and opener Keith Kemp. The pre-Movement party and the Detroit Historical Museum will be open to the public and admission is free. 

Following the event, the museum will temporarily close to the public to undergo a 6-month project that marks the first major renovations on the museum since the 1960s. The renovation is part of the Society’s $20.1 million Past>Forward campaign. By Thanksgiving, visitors will explore new and expanded exhibits, enjoy technology upgrades and experience educational offerings at the Detroit Historical Museum. Among the new exhibits will be the Allesee Gallery of Culture, which will include significant artifacts from Movement festival artists.

When the museum reopens to the public Nov. 23, admission will be and remain free to all. “This is a redefining moment for the Detroit Historical Society,” said Executive Director Bob Bury. “The renovations will allow us to better tell the region’s stories and to connect with our members and visitors in new and innovative ways. We are so pleased that, through the support of our donors, we will have a chance to provide increased access to all those who want to explore the newly renovated museum and all it has to offer.”

The Detroit Historical Society’s Past>Forward campaign includes the creation of Detroit Legends Plaza, on the grounds of the Detroit Historical Museum. The outdoor destination where this party will be held will transform to honor Detroit’s stars of sports, entertainment and media. It is set to be unveiled in September 2012.

In preparation for Detroit Legends Plaza, influential Detroit electronic artists have been invited to cast their handprints and signatures in cement during the Movement and Renovation Kickoff. Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Eddie Fowlkes and Carl Craig will take a moment during the festivities to complete the castings. These performers’ handprints will join such noted Michigan celebrities as Martha Reeves, Gordie Howe, Al Kaline, Elmore Leonard and Lily Tomlin.

"I'm excited that something like this is taking place,” said Craig. “To see something like a Detroit Legends Plaza happen, is to see a dream come true." Featuring Carl Craig during the event, who made a name for himself here in Detroit and whose songs are known around the world, seemed a fitting tribute for a celebration that will preview not only the Movement festival but also a widespread renovation of the Detroit Historical Museum. A cash bar will be available during the Movement and Renovation Kickoff and Garden Fresh will provide snacks for party-goers.
top