February 11, 2010 at 1:00 am

Mayor Bing embraces downsizing city

Detroit --Mayor Dave Bing said today his troubled city could have a bright future if it properly downsizes, markets its positives and find ways to re-create vibrant, safe communities to attract new growth.

"Without a doubt, we've got to downsize the city," Bing said of the city's shrinking population.

He said the city needs to "market our strengths" such as the casinos and the Detroit River.

Bing made the statements at a Time magazine and Brookings Institute-sponsored forum titled "Reimaging Detroit: Making Washington A Partner in Detroit's Next Economy." The event was at the Alfred Taubman Center in the College of Creative Studies near downtown.

Other forum participants were John Austin, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program; Carol Goss, president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation and Steve Hamp, chairman of the New Economy Initiative.

The mayor also said:

  • He's not seeking control, but he wouldn't turn away running the troubled Detroit Public Schools if the state Legislature granted control to the mayor.

  • The city needs more federal dollars to survive and help jumpstart transportation projects, clean blight and address illiteracy rates among children and adults.

  • Crucial city services like fire, police and garbage pickup will be maintained; others could be changed or privatized.

    lfleming@detnews.com">lfleming@detnews.com (313) 222-2072