It tastes like chicken. Unless that’s racist.
A private company is snapping up 150 acres on the Motor City’s East End — property where more than 1,000 homes once formed a gritty neighborhood — and turning it into what is being billed as the world’s largest urban farm. Hantz Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city.
So, Detroit hasn’t merely gone to the dogs; it’s gone to the cows.
Not everyone is a fan of turning such a huge swath of Detroit into a farm. The proposal was met with criticism from local residents and even area agricultural groups. It squeaked by the City Council by a razor-thin margin of 5-4.
“I think there’s concern in this transaction,” said Nevin Cohen, a professor of Environmental Studies at New York’s New School who has been monitoring the plan. “The city [Detroit] needs to figure out its blight problem without hurting the members of the community.”
“Replicating a community farm is not as important as addressing issues of race and class concerns — which underlie Detroit’s problems,” he said.
Come on, hasn’t Detroit’s obsession with race and class underlaid Detroit’s problems? Why not give broccoli rabe and chard a try?
Fine, if you don’t want to eat Detroit, maybe you can eat on Detroit—what’s left of it:
A new store opening today in the Motor City is putting materials salvaged from Detroit’s abandoned homes to good use by repurposing it for made-to-order furniture. Called “Workshop,” the store will be open through the holidays selling benches, tables, and other home goods in a pop-up location in the city’s Fisher Building. Most items will be made to customer specifications, but the showroom currently houses seven items–four benches and three tables–all made from the wood of an abandoned home located on the far West Side of the city.
Deconstruction is a relatively recent urban planning trend in which a structure is carefully and systematically dismantled with the intent of saving the most useable materials for future use.
“We are turning the page here in Detroit,” Jeremy Haines, who currently heads Reclaim Detroit told FoxNews.com. “There is a flipside to the blight. There’s a stockpile of materials.”
“It’s an opportunity to do something positive. We are helping to bring industry back to the city,” he added.
In the wake of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit is rebranding itself as the DIY, or do-it-yourself, City, with projects such as urban farms, small businesses selling locally made products, and residents pitching in to handle municipal upkeep. Reclaim Detroit and Workshop are firmly entrenched in this new ethos among the locals, who are committed to bringing Detroit back from the brink.
Detroit is not at the brink: bankrupt, decrepit, derelict, it’s so far past the brink it might as well keep going and hope to reach it from the other side.
First farmland, then furniture, now fine art:
A coalition of the largest creditors in Detroit’s bankruptcy is taking the first legal step toward pressuring the city to sell art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Three bond insurers, the city’s largest employee union and several European banks filed a motion in federal court this afternoon asking Judge Steven Rhodes to appoint a committee to oversee an independent evaluation of the market value of the multibillion-dollar city-owned collection at the DIA.
The motion formally takes the fight over the fate of the DIA into court for the first time. The filing suggests major creditors are unlikely to agree to any restructuring plan if they believe Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is offering a low-ball figure for the value of the art. The move increases the chances that Rhodes will be forced to decide whether the art can legally be sold.
An executive at New York-based bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., which led the drafting of the filing, told the Free Press in an exclusive interview that the city must sell art to satisfy creditors.
“We recognize that this is a very sensitive issue,” said Derek Donnelly, managing director of FGIC. “Whatever process we undertake here, we would hope would create a win-win situation — that ultimately there will be a viable DIA that will survive this process and possibly even thrive. But at the same time there needs to be a construct that addresses the fact that the DIA, or art, is not an essential asset and especially not one that is essential to the delivery of services in the city.”
No money, no Monet.
I don’t think we fully realize the phenomenon of reprimativization taking place in Detroit. It’s like Chernobyl, without the roentgens.
But Illinois appreciates:
Top Illinois legislators said today they’ve reached agreement on a plan to deal with the state’s worst-in-the-nation unfunded public pension liability and expect to vote on it next week.
Details of the measure were unclear today and its prospects of passing remained uncertain. But both Democratic and Republican leaders said they agreed on a proposal, the first such sign of progress in more than two years of discussions spurred by a continued downgrading of the state’s credit rating.
The debate has centered on how to reduce costs while balancing the legal protections to public employee retiree benefits laid out in the state constitution. The public employee unions have repeatedly threatened to challenge in court any pension proposal that lacked their support, and they were quick to criticize today’s announcement.
Officials for public employee and teachers’ unions, while unfamiliar with the details, said in a statement that they believed the proposal was “an unfair, unconstitutional scheme that undermines retirement security” since it was based on previous proposals that they had fought.
“It’s no compromise at all with those who earned and paid for their retirement benefits,” said the “We Are One” coalition, an umbrella organization for the state AFL-CIO, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the Illinois Nurses Association.
Squawk if you must, pinkie-ringed union thugs, but unless you want to see Wrigley Field converted into a patch of corn, in a reverse Filed of Dreams, you’ll need to be a little more flexible.