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Detroit Leaders and Other Cities of Promise Attendees Receive Words of Encouragement from Governor Granholm at First Annual Conference
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18 , 2008
Detroit Leaders and Other Cities of Promise Attendees Receive Words of Encouragement from
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm offered hope and promise of better days to come to nearly 200 attendees at the first annual Cities of Promise conference held at the Kellogg Center on the campus of Michigan State University Monday. The first annual conference hosted by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) along with the Michigan State University Extension Service and the Michigan Municipal League captivated leaders, including mayors from the eight Cities of Promise. The attendees gathered at the day long conference to exchange ideas, share best practices and build on existing partnerships through networking and breakout sessions. The Cities of Promise is Governor Granholm’s interagency initiative that aims to redevelop communities and reduce poverty.
“The city of Detroit is focused on targeting resources in specific neighborhoods within the city of Detroit to make improvements,” said Khandia Milton, chief of staff for the city of Detroit. “Thanks to the Cities of Promise initiative we have been able to work with local school boards to organize safe routes to schools, and we have also been able to demolish over 700 blighted houses in the city. We look forward to continually working with the state and the governor to focus on housing preservation and blight elimination within Detroit.”
The cities are those that are experiencing devastating conditions because of declining population, extreme poverty, loss of industry and jobs, crumbling infrastructure, and blighted neighborhoods. They include Benton Harbor, Detroit, Flint, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Muskegon Heights, Pontiac, and Saginaw.
Opening remarks from MSHDA’s Interim Executive Director, stressed that collaboration was the key to the initiative’s success.
“The partnerships being developed through the Cities of Promise are crucial in picking up Michigan’s economy,” said MSHDA Interim Executive Director, Keith Molin. “In order to keep the momentum moving forward, we must all work together. The leaders from the eight Cities of Promise have committed themselves to doing all they can to not only better their own cities, but to improve the state overall.”
Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon’s keynote address encouraged local officials to partner with their school districts to train students for existing workforce vacancies.
“We must get away from saying what we can’t do and start doing what we can do,” Simon said. “We can and will work with business and government to connect the workforce and education. The Cities of Promise can help us achieve that balance.”
The goal of the conference was to bring together key city leaders to focus on the transformation of the eight cities through six educational tracks: youth development, cultural asset appreciation, faith-based initiatives, land bank development, workforce development and neighborhood revitalization. Local leaders agreed that the conference delivered the goal.
This five year initiative includes nineteen state agencies, working together in a strategic, collaborative fashion to focus resources in these communities - driven by the local plans and presenting needs.
MSHDA is a quasi-state agency that provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve safe and decent affordable housing, engage in community economic development activities, and address homeless issues. MSHDA’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds and notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. For more information on MSHDA programs and initiatives, visit the Web site at www.michigan.gov/mshda.
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