Friday, November 25, 2016

MSU Study Finds Talk of Detroit's Comeback to be Premature
Deplorable conditions in the Detroit schools worsen.
Study titled 'It's safe to come, we've got lattes'

By Ken Haddad
2:15 PM, November 25, 2016

DETROIT - On the heels of the big announcement that the Detroit Pistons are moving back to Downtown Detroit, a new study finds that Detroit's reported comeback isn't as pretty as it seems.

Since emerging from a historic bankruptcy in 2014, Detroit has been the comeback story of the country.

New restaurants, residential developments, public transportation and vibrant events fill the Downtown area, but researchers at Michigan State University say it's all a mirage.

“In the news media, Detroit has gone from being the poster child for urban decline to a shining example of urban regeneration,” said Reese, lead investigator of the study. “Yet despite this increasingly crowded Detroit bandwagon, reality does not match the hype. The gap between the city’s core area and its neighborhoods is significant and increasing.”

The study analyzes a host of factors that show Detroit’s continuing plight. Among them:

Poverty in the city jumped from 33 percent in 2009 to 40 percent in 2014. Some 300,000 Detroiters live in poverty.

Unemployment increased from 25 percent in 2010 to 27 percent in 2013.

Most hotspots for crime – including homicide – are concentrated in the neighborhoods, and not in the downtown/Midtown area.

Public education continues to decline. In 2015, for example, only 1 percent of fourth-graders scored as proficient or advanced in science, 8 percent in math and 12 percent in English.

The loss of population and jobs has hurt municipal finances. Property tax delinquencies reached a high of 47 percent of parcels and uncollected taxes are estimated at $131 million.

The study did find enhanced public safety and infrastructure in Detroit's neighborhoods.

“Without a major commitment to improving education and job skills throughout Detroit, the gap between the city core and neighborhoods will continue to grow,” Reese said. “While the availability of lattes may be a sign that Midtown is moving toward the best of times, these are instead the worst of times for most Detroit neighborhoods.”

Detroit's unemployment rate is around 11 percent, more than double the national average.

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