Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, Detroit, Obama Administration — September 27, 2013 at 9:01 am

The Obama administration in Detroit today, will announce $300 million in new investments


The cavalry is coming! The cavalry is coming!

[Image by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]

The Obama adminstration will be in Detroit today and bring with them $300 million in new federal and private investments, much of which is designed to eradicate blight and foster an environment of rehabilitation. The delegation is led by chief White House economic adviser, Gene B. Sperling, and includes three cabinet members: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.; Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban development; and Anthony R. Foxx, secretary of transportation and a former mayor of Charlotte, N.C.

This meeting is part of an effort by our two Democratic Senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, to harness existing federal grants and programs to help out Michigan’s largest city.

Michigan’s two Democratic senators, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, said — like White House officials — that they knew better than to seek Congress’s help.

“There is not going to be a bailout for Detroit or any other city,” said Mr. Levin, a six-term Democrat who has lived in downtown Detroit for 35 years. “There’s not even enough funds in this budget to fund our own federal programs under sequestration,” the across-the-board spending cuts.

In July, after Mr. Snyder authorized Detroit’s emergency manager to file for bankruptcy, Mr. Levin had aides identify federal programs that Detroit could tap — the fiscal equivalent of looking under sofa cushions for spare change. A result was a 20-page spreadsheet of potential grants for neighborhood stabilization; brownfield cleanup; highway, education and antigang programs; and more.

Mr. Levin shared the list with Mr. Sperling, who was charged by Mr. Obama with overseeing a working group of administration officials. They soon discovered many areas where city officials had “left money on the table” by not applying for available federal money correctly, or at all. Foundations and businesses promised matching money. By late Thursday, the tabulation for Friday was still inching upward.

“What is important is that this is not a one-time announcement,” Ms. Stabenow said. “This is the first step.”

The following information was provided by the White House about what the team will be discussing and the resources they are tapping to help Detroit. One hopes that this won’t be a wholesale destruction of Detroit’s architectural legacy but will preserve what my wife Anne calls “the cool bones” of this amazing city. One also hopes that the people who are still in Detroit will benefit from the transformation and will not be gentrified out of the city.

FACT SHEET: The Obama Administration’s Efforts to Support Detroit in Retaining and Attracting Residents and Businesses that Want to Live, Work, and Invest in the City

The Obama Administration is dedicated to ensuring that the Federal government remains an active partner in bringing jobs back into the City, and turning the people of Detroit’s vision of the future into a reality. The Administration continues to find ways to complement the tremendous efforts already underway by local government, businesses, philanthropic, civic, and neighborhood organizations, and support the Detroit community in furthering the City’s economic revitalization. Our focus is on collaborating with City leaders and local partners to align existing Federal resources to effectively support local priorities.

Today, as part of ongoing engagement with the City of Detroit, the Administration is committing to the following, in partnership with the State, City, philanthropic, and private sector:

  • Unlocking and Attracting Nearly $150 Million for the Effective, Coordinated Demolition of Blighted Properties, Neighborhood Revitalization and Redevelopment in Detroit.
  • Unlocking $65 million in Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) funds for blight eradication, housing rehabilitation, and other community revitalization efforts through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in partnership with the City.
  • Demonstrating a public private partnership by providing Detroit with $25.4 million for commercial building demolition from the City, State, and HUD, as well as business and philanthropic partners. The investments include:
    • $5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP-3) funding from HUD and the City;
    • $5.4 million of repurposed CDBG funding from HUD and the City;
    • $5 million in program income from NSP-2 from the State of Michigan;
    • $10 million through the fundraising efforts of philanthropic and business organizations.
  • Ensuring efficient and green utilization of the recently announced $52 million Hardest Hit Fund allocation for blight elimination through assistance from the Department of the Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including the release of a “toolkit” for safe demolition.
  • Providing Detroit with $10.18 million for affordable housing from HUD.
  • Awarding $1.1 million for environmental assessments and cleanup of brownfield sites from EPA.
  • Expanding access to a tax lien assistance program that has helped more than 1,600 families and counting avoid foreclosure through a partnership of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and Treasury Department.

In addition to the $10 million in private funds for commercial demolition, other contributions to neighborhood revitalization from the philanthropic and business communities include:

  • Giving $1.5 million in operating support to the Detroit Land Bank Authority between 2014 and 2018 through an ongoing commitment by the Ford Foundation.
  • Awarding $1 million to Invest Detroit for the acquisition and predevelopment of residential properties including a new project on the East Riverfront, through the Ford Foundation, in addition to the ongoing support by the Kresge Foundation for the East Riverfront.
  • Putting $500,000 toward blight removal in Detroit neighborhoods and a $100,000 investment in a “blight text” technology that allows residents to participate in identifying and addressing blight by the Skillman Foundation.
  • Awarding and Expediting $30 Million to Improve Public Safety, Reduce Crime, and Decrease Emergency Response Time.
  • Awarding $3 million in Justice Department funds for hiring new police officers, establishing a bike patrol, supporting prisoner re-entry programs, and supporting youth anti-violence programs.
  • Convening police chiefs from across the nation to bring best practices and innovation to the Detroit Police Department.
  • Expediting access to $25 million in FEMA funding that will enable the hiring of 150 firefighters and purchasing of equipment to prevent and detect arson.
  • Working with the State of Michigan and local leaders, supporting 71 Detroit AmeriCorps members to empower youth, create economic development, and improve public safety.
  • Supporting Detroit’s street lighting system through a technical partnership between the Department of Energy, Detroit’s Public Lighting Authority, and DTE Energy.

These public investments complement contributions from the philanthropic and business communities, including but not limited to:

  • Providing $1.35 million in the next six months to improve safety in neighborhoods and to build a community policing model alongside Detroit Police Department and neighborhood groups by the Skillman Foundation.
  • Improving the police department’s CompStat system and ensuring safe pathways to school for kids, as well as other public safety efforts, through a $300,000investment from the Skillman Foundation and a $300,000 investment from the Kresge Foundation.
  • Deploying Nearly $140 Million in Federal Funds for Improving Transportation Systems for City and Regional Residents.
  • Ensuring access to more than $100 million in transit grants from the Department of Transportation (DOT), including immediately releasing $24 million of funding to repair and rehabilitate buses and to install security cameras to protect passengers and drivers.
  • Unlocking a $25 million TIGER grant and reaffirming the Department’s commitment to the M1 RAIL/Woodward Ave Streetcar project, a key priority for Detroit’s leaders, that will now help leverage more than $100 million in outside private and philanthropic investment.
  • Providing $6.4 million in DOT funding to the newly created Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to help implement a much needed regional bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
  • Attracting potential investors through a New Market Tax Credit convening, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Providing up to $300,000 toward designing a high-performing transportation system serving Detroit residents in line with the recommendations of the Detroit Future City strategic framework plan, from the Kresge Foundation.
  • Awarding $3 million to support property acquisition and predevelopment for Transit-Oriented Development on the Woodward Corridor to support the M1 RAIL through Ford Foundation, in conjunction with the $30.25 million revolving loan fund for mixed-use housing development announced by the Kresge Foundation and other partners last week.
  • Helping to Create a 21st Century Detroit.
  • Deploying a ‘Tech Team’ of leading City Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) to bring innovation to Detroit’s city services through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
  • Connecting small businesses with millions of dollars of business from national customers through the Small Business Administration’s American Supplier Initiative Matchmaker Event.
  • Ongoing engagement with and support for Detroit through additional Federal resources and future meetings with the Secretaries of the Departments of Education and Labor, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and other senior Obama Administration officials.
  • Providing $15 million to cultivate Detroit entrepreneurs and small businesses through continued funding for the New Economy Initiative from the Ford, Kresge, and Knight foundations.
  • Providing $250,000 to foster the advancement of early stage retail and creative businesses in Detroit through support of the Detroit Development Fund from Knight Foundation.
  • Providing $500,000 to help implement the Tech Team’s recommendations to improve Detroit city services by bringing in innovation fellows, making needed upgrades, and supporting local tech training and mentoring, through the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Rock Ventures.
  • Delivering up to $1 million to upgrade the city’s grants management system from Ford Foundation.
  • Awarding $250,000 to fund fifty $5,000 capacity grants subsidizing the enhanced training of public sector and nonprofit employees advancing Detroit’s future from Knight Foundation.
  • Committing to fund future classes of “Revitalization Fellows,” 25-30 mid-career professionals sent to city government and nonprofit sector partners, for at least two more rounds, a combined $5 million commitment from the Ford Foundation and Kresge Foundation.

The Obama Administration’s efforts and partnership with the State, City, philanthropic, and private sector to support the people of Detroit by building on the considerable progress and investments made thus far has and will continue to address wide ranging issues and areas, including those not highlighted in today’s visit. The Administration has a long term commitment to partnering with local leaders to support the economic revitalization of Detroit, as well as other recovering urban and rural communities throughout the country, and remains focused on ensuring that America and our iconic cities remain strong and vibrant.