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
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