Yesterday some of my colleagues and I had a joint retreat in Detroit. When you talk about the value of placemaking in communities, Detroit is ground zero for that conversation not just here in Michigan but across the country. I've blogged about Detroit on a number of occasions (even just a few weeks ago after I ran the inaugural Cocoa Class Half Marathon there), and everybody knows how much I love it. Sure, the City is embroiled in the nation's largest ever municipal bankruptcy. Sure, there are miles and miles of infrastructure that are seemingly impossible to manage. Yet those challenges create possibility - possibility that Detroit will rise from the ashes to be the City those of us who know it and love it believe it will be.
We took a two-hour bike tour of the city with Wheelhouse, a company located right on the Detroit river. We hit many of the hot spots - the beautifully renovated river walk (where I ran during my work convention last fall). We saw an urban farm, toured the Heidelberg Project, and rode through beautiful and historic Elmwood Cemetery and Eastern Market. It was a fabulous sunny day in downtown Detroit, and my heart was happy.
|With my colleagues in Downtown Detroit before our bike tour|
I stood on Woodward Avenue chatting afterward and was again struck by the sheer magnitude of what we're working to accomplish. Communities all across Michigan are doing some pretty amazing things despite state disinvestment and hard economic times. The City of Detroit is filled with so much possibility that my heart sometimes feels like it may burst because I want so badly to be part of the City's comeback. It's going to happen, and I refuse to give up on Detroit or any of our communities. Passion and possibility together defeat negativity. Even this cynic knows that.