Nightly News   |  January 27, 2012

Michigan town for sale

Pontiac, Mich., no longer supported by GM plants, is struggling to stay afloat. In the face of huge budget deficits, the town is now selling off everything, including City Hall. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> we learned today the u.s. economy continuing to grow now, though it's a slower pace than expected. gross domestic product bumped up 2.8% in the final three months of 2011 . that's disappointing some economis economists who have been looking for 3% growth. when companies have large inventories, they produce less in the feature, which could mean slower growth and fewer american jobs .

>>> the city of pontiac , michigan , used to stand for american manufacturing. so much so, it gave its name to a great line of automobiles. well, they don't make pontiacs any more, and tonight we'll show you what has become of pontiac , michigan , where the gm plants there are gone and the city is taking extreme measures to stay afloat, selling everything down to and including the walls. we get our report from nbc's kevin tibbles.

>> reporter: in a struggling city synonymous with the american car , a fire sale .

>> this building is for sale, the parking lot .

>> reporter: today in pontiac , michigan , you can buy the police station , library, golf course , cemetery, even city hall .

>> so far, nothing's sold.

>> nothing's sold so far.

>> this is the great one.

>> reporter: in its heyday, the city and the car that bore its name swaggered with the brawn and muscle of the post war boom in america.

>> built for you by pontiac , of course.

>> reporter: now, the fabled brand is gone and the city barely hanging on is forced to slash and down size. they don't make things here any more. even the silver dome, home of the 198 super bowl was unloaded. since vacant say for the occasional tractor pull.

>> we used to be a boom down.

>> reporter: what are you now?

>> getting close to be a ghost town .

>> reporter: former auto workers gather at the avon donuts as the last of the plant falls to the wreckers. what happened to your city?

>> gone. my city's gone.

>> it's like tearing part of me down, too.

>> reporter: in his garage near ann arbor , former gm vice chairman bob lutz shows part of his prized collection, including a solstace coup, one of the last made.

>> it's a tragic thing to see. i'm hoping that that trend is reverse i reversing.

>> reporter: but will any turnaround come in time for places like pontiac ?

>> i know we have a of good assets here and a lot of good people this. place will come back.

>> reporter: the mayor will entertain any offer. back at avon donuts, the owner works seven days a week. he wants the american dream for 3-year-old daughter annabelle.

>> what everybody hopes for, college, good job. education.

>> reporter: will you find it hooer in pontiac ?

>> probably not.

>> reporter: for the people in this company town , not many options, hoping anything or anyone can turn things around. kevin tibbles, nbc news, pontiac , michigan .