Blog post: “Shark couldn’t kill Detroit”
The John Singleton Copley image of Watson and the Shark, one of the most valuable pictures in the Detroit Institute of Arts collection was up for grabs in bankruptcy proceedings. Sharks circled the waters looking for how to raid a city especially its art museum. Yet the Detroit team prevailed. The picture is secure and Detroit has a chance to begin anew.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rosen prevailed in what became known as the “grand bargain.” He helped cobble together almost $1 billion in foundation, private and state rescue money and worked out deals with major creditors to reduce the $18 billion in liabilities. The bankruptcy proceedings emerged with new hope for restoring necessary services for the 685,000 Detroit residents.
Three cheers for bipartisan support from Republican Governor Rick Snyder, Democrat Mayor Michael Duggan and a host of concerned individuals from pastors to foundation presidents who worked together for 16 straight months. Their awesome work helped build an infrastructure of hope and solvency, impossible by any other means.
“In every (bankruptcy) case , we have a debtor who needs help, who made mistakes, who took unwarranted risks, who accepted bad advice, who exercised bad judgment, who was too long in denial, or who had just plain bad luck,” Judge Rhodes wrote in an MLive editorial. “But no matter, our society holds dear the value of a fresh start and of second chances.
Gov. Snyder issued this statement: The city of Detroit is in the midst of a great American comeback, and it is encouraging to know that Detroit Driven will ensure the story gets told,” he said. “The people of Detroit have been working extremely hard to revitalize their home city, and it is crucial that their commitment is recognized.”
Soon the residents of the city and surrounding suburbs will gather downtown for America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Still more people will gather on December 6 for Noel Night. People of all walks of life cheer Santa and sing songs, celebrating life. In this chilly season skaters will flock to Cadillac Square to drink hot chocolate and skate outdoors.
To be sure, sacrifices have been made. Belle Isle is run by the state of Michigan, the DIA is now run by a private foundation, several buildings will be owned by bankruptcy creditors. The pensioners lost a portion of income and health insurance. But the pain could have been far worse without skillful lawyers, accountants and public servants brokering deals.
Detroit stands as the first major American city to emerge from bankruptcy. Its template may help other struggling cities to find answers and ideas for funding services. Tourists from around the world are coming to Detroit to see what is going on. Some stay to help.
Detroit Driven aims to help the city go forward. Look to more stories and events to help build momentum. We’ve jumped a mighty shark, but we’re not completely out of the water. That will take your support too.