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The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy is trying to raise $3 million to fund a transportation system that includes water taxis and trolley buses. They would operate exclusively along the river.

Marc Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy, says there’s no timetable for the project but officials are sure “it will be a wonderful addition to the riverfront.”

What is particularly noteworthy is that the conservancy is a nonprofit organization and money for the transportation plan would come from private sources.

There’s no doubt that if the project becomes a reality, the riverfront’s appeal will be enhanced. The conservancy has already done much work to make the riverfront attractive for families and visitors to Detroit.

As a result, the river is a natural resource that already draws thousands to its banks each year.

For a city like Detroit, struggling to maintain financial stability, improving the riverfront through the conservancy makes sense.

No such thing as free water

Detroit announced this week it will begin delivering notices to delinquent residential water customers. They will be given 10 days to sign up for a payment assistance plan or face cutoff.

It’s a more than reasonable action considering the large number of delinquent accounts and the financial drain they place on the system. There are an estimated 22,000 residential accounts that are more than 60 days overdue.

Just like the old saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” water users must realize there’s no such thing as free water. Someone has to pay for the services. Those who have let their accounts go into arrears are forcing their neighbors to pick up the tab.

Residents who owe money are being given numerous options to keep their water running. Shut-off status comes into play only for accounts that are at least 60 days late or owe $150 or more. The notices detail the warning but also aptly outline options for getting help.

Detroit school gets new life

Any constructive use for an abandoned and deteriorating building is always welcome, but in the case of the 1920s-era Southwestern High School in Detroit, plans call for it to again be an educational facility.

This time, it will be a training center for high-tech manufacturing jobs in connection with the production of lightweight aluminum castings. The school’s new life comes as part of an up to $31.9 million investment from the India-based auto supplier Sakthi Automotive.

Newer portions of the high school will be demolished but the original historic structure facing Fort Street, as well as the gymnasium, will be renovated.

When all expansions are completed by 2017, the roughly 70-acre Sakthi Manufacturing Campus will contain an estimated 1.2 million square feet of space across four facilities and employ about 650, including 70 positions that will be moved from China.

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