Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy in Action > Key Takeaways from Mayor Duggan’s State of the City

Key Takeaways from Mayor Duggan’s State of the City

March 10, 2022
On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, Mayor Mike Duggan gave his first State of the City address since being re-elected for his third term last November. As the city continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic disruption, the speech presented a forward-looking agenda. Below are three main takeaways from the mayor’s “blight to beauty” program. 

A Focus on the Neighborhoods 

The mayor has focused on expanding economic opportunities and quality of life throughout his tenure. Mayor Duggan started in 2013 with a campaign slogan “Every neighborhood has a future,” 11,000 vacant homes have been restored, and more than 20,000 vacant homes have been removed. 

“We are two-thirds of the way through the abandoned houses in the city, and I expect in the next four years, that we are going to either demolish or renovate every abandoned house so no child in the city ever grows up in a block where they have to walk past one and feel bad about their neighborhood,” Duggan said. 

Through the Detroit Land Bank, 20,000 Detroiters have bought side lots adjacent to their homes. Additional vacant land will be offered for communal use. This spring, the city will develop a grant program to help fund the projects proposed by residents. In total, 50 projects a year may be eligible for grants from $500 to $15,000 to develop land in the neighborhoods. 

Growth Post-Pandemic 

Duggan presented his$2.45 million budget for the next year to the City Council on Monday, focusing on increasing funds for blight removal, neighborhood improvements, and beautification.  

The budget proposal is the fifth in a 10-year period of passive oversight from the state. If the budget is balanced again in the coming year, “We’re halfway of having the state gone for good,” Duggan said. 

Mayor Duggan emphasized that for the city to rebound fully and even grow following the pandemic, Detroit needs people back to work, he said. More than 45,000 jobs were lost during the pandemic, and there are currently more than 13,000 jobs available through Detroit at Work. 

Detroit at Work is offering five different kinds of scholarships totaling $100 million. This includes getting paid $10 an hour to attend literacy or high school classes, being paid to attend training courses, and business startup support and entrepreneurship training with Motor City Match. 

Education Leads to Opportunity  

More than 1,200 Detroiters are attending college with scholarship funds from the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Promise, which funds high school graduates with good grades on their college path. 

“We remain one of only two or three cities in Michigan that guarantees college tuition to every child in our community,” Duggan said. “Real estate people say, ‘If you buy this house, with it comes college tuition.’ It’s a great attraction.” 

Additionally, Mayor Duggan described several existing programs for this purpose, including $75 million Skills for Life, which pays residents $15 an hour to work for the city and go to training — plus $3.5 million Learn to Earn, which pays $10 an hour to attend classes. 

Chamber Perspective 

To build a more resilient regional economy and more resilient citizens, we need to increase our level of education attainment – so more of our citizens have that degree or skilled credential that will insulate them from unemployment and provide our employers with the 21st Century skills to keep them competitive in the global marketplace. 

The Chamber has led the charge in this quest by setting a goal and creating initiatives, such as Detroit Drives Degrees, to get 60% of our adults with a degree or high-value credential by 2030 and we are delighted that Gov. Whitmer has mirrored this goal for the state.   

The Mayor’s agenda lays out a responsible pathway for transformational investment and long-term growth that will benefit all Detroiters.