So, another group of businesses has announced that they’re willing to offer incentives to employees for living in greater downtown Detroit. The Live Downtown program offers employees incentives of up to $20,000 for buying a home and up to $3,500 for renting in the downtown, Corktown, Eastern Market, Lafayette Park, Midtown and Woodbridge areas, if they work for Quicken Loans Inc., Compuware Corp., Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Strategic Staffing Solutions Inc. or DTE Energy Co.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Midtown resident, so you can imagine that I think this is a good idea, at least for my neighborhood. More people means more shops, stores and services, and means that maybe someday, we’ll get right-side-up in our mortgage once again. As it was pointed out in the story, it’s not just about moving someone into an empty apartment or house — it’s about them patronizing the businesses in the community, sending their kids to nearby school, and filling out the tall roll.
Will such incentives bring people in for the wrong reasons? I don’t think so. Admittedly, when my husband and I were considering a move to Detroit, I was very nervous about the idea. I suggested compromising and moving to the suburbs halfway between our offices. But what I needed was for him to take me into the city, over and over, to go to a game, to go out to eat, to visit a festival, so I could see for myself that living in the city could be a smart and fun choice.
Maybe this is that “nudge” that someone needs before making the leap. Someone’s been here to visit, and maybe they’ve thought about moving downtown. Maybe they’ve even walked through Woodbridge and gaped at the beautiful houses there. (We did that a lot before we moved to the city, too.) Maybe they’ve enjoyed a muffin at Avalon Bakery before strolling to the DIA. They just need that one, final reason for a move to make sense. This could be it.
I applaud the businesses involved for realizing that this needs to happen, and for their willingness to put their money where their mouths are. It’s going to take cooperation between city, businesses and people for Detroit’s core area to revitalize. Do you think this is what it will take?
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