“Everything you’ve heard about Detroit is true” screams the headline in the most recent ad from the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Risky? Not so much. Under that headline are some truths about the city. Here’s the rest of the copy.
Okay, it’s true: We filed for bankruptcy. It’s true: We’ve got some serious financial challenges.
But here’s what else is true about Detroit …
True: More than $11 billion in new private economic investment and development in the past two years that’s helped transform downtown’s buildings, businesses, and riverfront into a lively and appealing urban center.
True: The $279 million transformation of Cobo Center into a state-of-the-art meeting and convention facility, with more than 4,500 nearby hotel rooms.
True: The construction of a new $140 million downtown light rail system that will connect residents and visitors to restaurants, shopping, sporting venues, and cultural activities along a three-mile span.
True: A completely remodeled, state-of-the-art airport that handles 1,200 flights every day to and from 150 destinations on four continents.
True: A rich array of cultural attractions, professional sports teams, outdoor activities, and one of the largest theater districts in the U.S., with over 13,000 seats in just a two-block radius.
True: A true two-nation destination, with the charms of Ontario, Canada just 10 minutes away by bridge or tunnel.
As Stephen Colbert once said, “I don’t know whether it’s a new thing, but it’s certainly a current thing, in that it doesn’t seem to matter what facts are. It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that’s not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything.”
With that in mind the DMCVB also created tools for its planners that include a Detroit Perceptions and Realities document. Here are some the perceptions and the realities.
Perception: Downtown Detroit is unsafe
Reality: Downtown Detroit is safe and secure
A coordinated vigilance is present downtown and response times are low. For added assurance and responsiveness, the police emergency department has recently secured 100 new cars and 23 EMS units. Downtown is also blanketed with security provided by the pooled resources of Project Lighthouse, a public-private partnership involving Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, FBI, Customs and Border Patrol, state, county and city police departments, and all private security companies.
Perception: Job opportunities in downtown Detroit are scarce
Reality: Thousands of jobs are in Detroit and millions are being invested in new business
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