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More chatter about the rink agreement between the DDA and the Ilitches

Okay, so the Free Press's John Gallagher reported that the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation's Downtown Development Authority and Olympia Entertainment were going to get down to brass tacks regarding the arena agreement which will govern the lease between the Ilitches and the organization that will ultimately build, own and lease the follow-on rink to the Wings--because that agreement needs to be hashed out before Detroit's City Council will approve an expansion of the DDA's footprint to help fund the rink's construction...

But WXYZ's Julie Banovic (via RedWingsFeed) reports that the agreement between the DDA and Olympia won't come without some negotiations with the residents of the Cass Corridor and the Foxtown area:

We found a group of residents who live around the park making a list and checking it twice to make sure that the public tax dollars for the proposed new hockey arena will be spent real nice.

“We’re trying to open up the process.  We’re trying to make the process more transparent because it really hasn’t been very,” said Francis Grunow.  Grunow represents the Cass Park area around where the proposed entertainment district will be built.   "We’re talking about what the residents want and in this case it’s a litany of things,” said Grunow.

The group said since 58 percent of the arena is being funded by tax payers, residents should be able to get things out of the deal too, like job training programs, construction jobs, environmental considerations and more.

“That means more taxpayer tax dollars shifted away from our schools away from our public services and city services that we really need,” said State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit).  Rep. Tlaib has been hearing concerns from residents.

The group is bringing their wants and needs to Detroit City Council on the December 17, the same day council is expected to talk about how the project will benefit Detroit before they finalize legislation to approve the new arena and entertainment district.

“We want development in Detroit.  This area has suffered from decades of disinvestment but there are people here and there are businesses here.  And we want these people and these businesses to thrive and not be displaced,” said Grunow.

Here's a video version of the report:

This isn't surprising. The City Council isn't going to approve the expansion of the downtown footprint without assurances that the residents' concerns will be met and that both the rink's construction and the $200 million in "surrounding economic development" will be built by a certain number of City-sourced employees and will involve a certain amount of long-term investment in the area's residents' best interests.

It's part of the game, as it were.

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DDA funds come from grants, contracts, interest on loans and property taxes from their approved developments. This is a self-sustaining fund that will only continue to work if it keeps approving projects like this.

With NO burden to the taxpayer, this project will create over 13,000 jobs and have an overall economic benefit of $1.8 billion to Detroit and surrounding areas. The mixed-use arena and residential district will also provide 58 percent more permanent employment than Joe Louis currently offers. And how about the location? This project will replace vacant lots and dilapidated old buildings that are located right off I-75.

This is the investment that Detroit has been waiting for. Residents of Detroit need to be a little less cynical and realize that Mr. Ilitch is a hero to their city.

Posted by Marshall J on 12/13/13 at 10:16 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Posted by Marshall J on 12/13/13 at 10:16 AM ET

Absolutely agree.  Unfortunately, the residents don’t get it - they just want handouts.

Posted by TreKronor on 12/13/13 at 11:51 AM ET


Anyone can be a hero with a couple of hundred million in government money.

Posted by timbits on 12/13/13 at 12:01 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

I hate when I agree with timbits, but he’s right. I believe Illitch’s heart is in the right place. I also believe the public who will pay for 58% of the project are also legitimately concerned for the long-term viability. Too often the public is sold a bill of goods when they approve a project and then watch promises fail to materialize. They’re rightfully being diligent.

It’s hard for me to see someone ensuring job opportunities for their community as someone seeking a handout, especially when this is a publicly subsidized, privately profitable enterprise. Mr. Illitch is getting the handout here.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/13/13 at 12:32 PM ET


Maybe the state and the city should just cut a check for each individual living in Detroit and let them decide what to do with “their” money.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/13/13 at 04:45 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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