Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Deadspin highlights proposed community benefits agreement ordinance in Detroit

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 3:20 PM

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Has Detroit found the answer to making publicly-funded mega-developments more equitable for the city as whole? That's the basis of a question posed in a piece over at Deadspin today by Brooklyn-based writer Bill Bradley, who's written about the city of Detroit plenty of times in the past. 

What Bradley's talking about is Detroit's proposed community benefits agreement (CBA) ordinance, a local law that would be the first of its kind in the nation. It would require developers to provide specific benefits to a community for projects funded by public money, and often include jobs, housing, and direct financial aid. From Bradley: 

A CBA is a legally binding pact covering everything from local hiring requirements and environmental concerns to redevelopment of public space and infrastructure. It's a way to assuage the fears of current residents wary of displacement and change and ensure the public's money is put to good use. It would be the first law of its kind in the country.

"We are allowing these large corporations—companies that could build a hockey arena without our money—to get in the corporate welfare line and take resources away from us," Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan state representative who serves Detroit, told me. "In exchange for what?"

Detroit City Council is expected to continue debate on the proposed ordinance soon, while, at the same time, a state legislator has proposed to ban all CBAs in Michigan. Read the rest of Bradley's piece here


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