Howes

The Detroit News - - Front Page -

of talk. I want the jail project re­solved. The de­ci­sion is solely about what’s best for Wayne County.”

Not en­tirely. Both pro­posed lo­ca­tions would have mean­ing­ful im­pli­ca­tions for the re­de­vel­op­ment of down­town and the city’s abil­ity to at­tract — or not — a Ma­jor League Soc­cer fran­chise to what is be­com­ing the most con­cen­trated pro­fes­sional sports town in the na­tion.

It’s un­der­stand­able for Evans to say this call is “solely” about “what’s best” for the county. But it’s about much more than that — the con­tin­u­ing re­vival of down­town, much of it pri­vately fi­nanced; smarter land use in a city with a history of do­ing it poorly; max­i­miz­ing the taxrev­enue gen­er­at­ing power of new in­vest­ment to ben­e­fit the city, the county and the ser­vices they can pro­vide.

A new county jail on the east­ern edge of down­town, wedged be­tween Greek­town and Ford Field, would not gen­er­ate much tax rev­enue, even if the peo­ple who work there would through pay­roll taxes. No sales tax; no prop­erty tax to ben­e­fit pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices.

There would be much less busi­ness ac­tiv­ity on the edge of down­town, a diminu­tion of eco­nomic im­pact the Gil­bert­spon­sored re­port from the Univer­sity of Michi­gan’s Cen­ter for Sport and Pol­icy pegs at some $2 bil­lion should his sta­dium-an­den­ter­tain­ment dis­trict there be re­al­ized.

Hardly some­thing to ig­nore, even if the num­ber is in­flated. All of that, and more, should rightly be part of a de­ci­sion that both the city and the county, their tax­pay­ers and their busi­nesses, will live with for some­thing like the next 30 years.

Detroit and its in­vestors — Gil­bert and the Il­itch fam­ily, foun­da­tions and Wayne State Univer­sity, larger com­pa­nies and smaller star­tups, the River­front Con­ser­vancy and the state De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources — are demon­strat­ing a keen col­lec­tive eye for re­viv­ing the city with re­spect for au­then­tic­ity and its “bones.” Daniel.Howes@de­troit­news.com

(313) 222-2106 Daniel Howes’ col­umn runs Tues­days, Thurs­days and Fri­days. Fol­low him on

Twit­ter @DanielHowes_TDN, lis­ten to his Satur­day pod­casts, or catch him 3 and 10 p.m. Thurs­days on Michi­gan

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