Nightly News | September 17, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: More on the US economy tonight, and one of the hardest hit cities because of what has happened to American industry. In the city of Detroit , the mayor is trying to remake the place, like mayors before him, and a lot of people are having their say about his plan to start from the ground up . Our own Kevin Tibbles is there.
KEVIN TIBBLES reporting: It's been a boisterous week in the Motor City .
Unidentified Woman #1: I love my city and I'm here.
TIBBLES: Thousands packed town hall meetings to tell Detroit Mayor Dave Bing how to save their city.
Unidentified Woman #2: This is about every citizen.
Mr. DAVE BING (Detroit Mayor): I see things that are absolutely unbearable. I don't know how people live, or are expected to live like some people are living right now.
TIBBLES: Bing inherited Detroit nine months ago. He calls it a hellhole: 40,000 abandoned buildings, unemployment and crime. Just last week dozens of structures burned in fires that engulfed entire blocks. Bing wants to demolish derelict buildings, redesign neighborhoods, even create inner city farms.
Mr. BING: Our city is still living like we did 50 years ago. That doesn't work anymore.
TIBBLES: The mayor's office is vehement they're not trying to shrink this city, but Detroit has been shrinking on its own. In the last 50 years the population has dropped from two million to just over 700,000. Today entire neighborhoods lie abandoned. But many fear a new Detroit will mean gentrification and no place for them.
Ms. ZENOBIA JEFFRIES (The Michigan Citizen Managing Editor): The mayor said that you know, the city will still be 139 square miles, but what does that look like, and who will own that? Will it still be Detroit ?
Unidentified Man #1: Where is money going to come from?
TIBBLES: So Detroiters come with questions and suggestions; some even record their concerns for city officials.
Unidentified Man #2: And taxes for what? You don't even pick up my garbage, you don't deliver my mail.
Unidentified Woman #3: And walking through our neighborhoods, and vacant houses and stuff like that, it's not safe.
Mr. BING: We got to get back to our roots, we've got to get back to our foundation and make hard decisions. We've got to build from the ground up again.
TIBBLES: On one desolate street, 80-year-old James Key sits alone. He's lived here 51 years, his neighbors all gone.
Mr. JAMES KEY: Hopelessness, that's what I have.
TIBBLES: The new plan likely won't come in time for Mr. Key , but the hope is it will bring the city back to life for future