The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/12/13 at 02:04 AM ET
The Michigan Chronicle's Donald James did something interesting on Wednesday, and his work's worth a stand alone-entry because he chose to speak with the Ilitches' representatives regarding their take on the public funds which will help build the Red Wings' follow-on rink project:
“There will be no taxpayers dollars going to fund this project,” said Susan Durgan, director of communication for Olympia Development of Michigan. “The state is actually funding the majority of the public sector piece of the project through economic development funds that have been available for years. The money can only be used for economic development.
“The city of Detroit in bankruptcy is very unfortunate, but it’s drawing a line in the sand, basically,” Durgan said. “However, the city must move on. This is a ‘move on’ project. This is something that will create revenue.”
According to John Hahn, vice president of communications for Ilitch Holdings, Inc:
“What the studies show is that a stand alone sports arena does not work,” said Hahn. “However, we don’t want to just build an arena. That’s why it is important for us to build this entire ancillary district, which often gets lost in the translation.”
Both Durgan and Hahn said the proposed arena and surrounding complex of residential, retail, office and commercials facilities will mean jobs for Detroiters, something mandated by Ilitch. Of the 8,300 expected construction jobs associated with completing the project, 51 percent of the jobs must go to Detroiters under an executive order. Additionally, 30 percent of the construction budget must go to Detroit businesses.
“To meet the 51 percent, we have a job outreach plan that we will be working on to implement,” Durgan said. “It’s important to Mr. Ilitch that Detroiters are included in the job opportunities associated with this project. There are some viable plans to establish a workforce development and training program to help prepare Detroiters for the needed work.”
Durgan also pointed out that there will be numerous community outreach initiatives designed to mentor local businesses and empower Detroiters through jobs, training, education and other means, all of which will positively impact adults, youth, schools and families.
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