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The Detroit News - - Front Page - CFer­retti@de­troit­news.com

what­ever he could do to help Detroit, he would.

“One thing we need for Detroi­ters right now are job op­por­tu­ni­ties. Jobs that you have a high school de­gree, and you are will­ing to work hard and learn some new skills and raise your stan­dard of liv­ing,” Dug­gan said. “The ap­parel in­dus­try has enor­mous po­ten­tial.”

The idea is to grow the com­pa­nies that have al­ready started out and bring in more to lead to “good pay­ing jobs,” which Dug­gan added is “what we need in Detroit.”

“Now we’ve got an ap­parel, fash­ion, lux­ury strat­egy, and we’re go­ing to keep on try­ing to add dif­fer­ent sec­tors of jobs in the city,” Dug­gan said.

Both Aron­s­son and Dug­gan said the con­cept in­cludes a con­cen­trated cam­pus where mul­ti­ple busi­nesses would be lo­cated to­gether. Fig­ures on the an­tic­i­pated in­vest­ment and job cre­ation are still be­ing worked out.

Among the city-based com­pa­nies Aron­s­son plans to part­ner with are Detroit Denim Co. and Detroit Vs Ev­ery­body, which is al­ready part of his steer­ing com­mit­tee, he said.

Aron­s­son, who went to the Univer­sity of Michi­gan and Wayne State Univer­sity, cur­rently is based in New York. He in­tends to add an ad­di­tional res­i­dence in Detroit.

Separately, Dug­gan on Thurs­day talked about the com­pet­i­tive ef­fort to get a pro­posal to Ama­zon, which is look­ing for a North Amer­i­can city to build its mas­sive sec­ond head­quar­ters. The dead­line for sub­mis­sions is Oct. 19.

Dug­gan said bil­lion­aire in­vestor Dan Gil­bert is lead­ing the ef­fort that’s en­gag­ing state and re­gional part­ners for a bid com­mit­tee in­clud­ing Gov. Rick Sny­der, Wayne County Ex­ec­u­tive War­ren Evans, Oak­land County Ex­ec­u­tive L. Brooks Pat­ter­son and oth­ers.

“We’ve got five weeks. We’re go­ing to try and draw on all the tal­ents across this com­mu­nity to put to­gether a pro­posal,” Dug­gan told re­porters af­ter his ad­dress. “We’re up against re­ally tough com­pe­ti­tion from re­ally good cities.”

In his Thurs­day pitch to a crowd of ex­pats, Dug­gan touted the im­ple­men­ta­tion of 65,000 new LED street­lights, im­proved bus ser­vices, the de­mo­li­tion of blighted homes and some 5,000 ad­di­tional hous­ing units in the city.

The mayor also stressed the need for “in­tense” neigh­bor­hood and com­mer­cial re­de­vel­op­ment, re­it­er­at­ing his strat­egy for “20 minute neigh­bor­hoods” to pro­vide nearby res­i­dents with close, walk­a­ble ac­cess to gro­cery stores and other ameni­ties.

Dug­gan noted progress in sev­eral ar­eas un­der Detroit’s Strate­gic Neigh­bor­hood Fund, a phil­an­thropic part­ner­ship that aims to trans­form va­cant homes, empty lots and store­fronts. It’s now be­ing ex­panded, he said, to seven ad­di­tional ar­eas.

The Thurs­day talk comes amid more pos­i­tive news for the city: the lat­est U.S. Cen­sus Bureau fig­ures were re­leased, show­ing poverty went down last year in Detroit and in­comes rose. The in­come in­crease was the first sig­nif­i­cant gain in the city since the 2000 cen­sus.

Dug­gan, how­ever, said he knows there’s more work to do. Among the ar­eas of con­cern are the city’s pub­lic schools. The mayor was hope­ful about the district’s chang­ing lead­er­ship and its pro­grams to im­prove op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“If you look at where we’ve come in four years, we need the schools to make the same progress over the next four years,” he said.

This year’s home­com­ing kicked off Wed­nes­day night and fea­tures more than 230 ex­pa­tri­ates seek­ing to ex­plore busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in Detroit. More than $300 mil­lion has been in­vested in city projects and busi­nesses since the pro­gram launched in 2014, or­ga­niz­ers said. stains, if at all? We’re about to find out. “This is a no-lose propo­si­tion for south­east Michi­gan,” says Baruah of the Cham­ber. “Best case is we pre­vail un­der some very heavy com­pe­ti­tion. Even if we don’t win, but come close. It’s still a win for us. We learn how to do this well.”

What­ever hap­pens, busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers ar­guably are more aligned around the eco­nomic way for­ward than any time in decades. The Demo­cratic mayor of Detroit and the Repub­li­can gov­er­nor co­a­lesce around com­mon prob­lems, and more of­ten than not so do their re­spec­tive law­mak­ers.

Busi­ness lead­ers are more pre­dis­posed to dig into civic prob­lems, with a dozen or so of their top lead­ers com­ing to­gether in a new, still-un­named group to cham­pion re­form. For the first time in a decade or more, Detroit’s au­tomak­ers are led by long­time Michi­gan­ders — Mary Barra at Gen­eral Mo­tors Co. and Bill Ford and Jim Hack­ett at Ford.

None of that is enough to guar­an­tee suc­cess in the cam­paign for Ama­zon. But it should give south­east Michi­gan a chance to earn a win that could change its eco­nomic tra­jec­tory.

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