The City of Detroit is on the verge of bankruptcy and the lead article in the paper is the big, ugly Packard plant and how can it be torn down? Are you serious? Most of the City of Detroit is in horrible ruins and parts of it look like downtown Bagdad during the bombing in Iraq. The last Packard car was built at that plant in 1954 – 58 years ago. We don’t want to rush into things and the fact is that there is no money to demolish the Packard Plant anyway. I guess the Detroit News has to sell papers and they need to fill these papers with some type of articles but who in their right mind is selecting them. Has anyone driven down East Grand Boulevard lately or gone on a drive around Belle Isle? How about a trip over to see the Michigan Grand Central Station – there is a ruin of majestic proportions.
Take a ride down Woodward some time and view the boarded up and decaying former Ford Motor Headquarters. At one time as many as 1000 Model T cars were built here. How about the industrial ruins of the Fisher Body Plant 21 at the end of Piquette Avenue or the Russell Industrial Center that also has been vacant for many years. Also on Woodward Avenue, you can view the remains of the American Beauty Electric factory just south of Grand Boulevard. At least in October of 1998, we were spared the painful memories of one of the greatest stores in the Midwest when the former J.L. Hudson store was imploded.
Does anyone remember the GAR Building? It sits vacant and partially boarded up on Grand River Avenue. How about the Albert Kahn downtown YWCA abandoned for development. Also sitting on demolition death row is the downtown YMCA. Some lawyers remember the old Detroit College of Law that sits in a similar state of decay and abandonment. Remember Joe Muer’s famous restaurant? Yep, demolished in 2002 and the lot still sits vacant after 12 years!
But we now have the “People Mover.” This elevated train rounds the once proud and now abandoned Statler Hotel. To the left of the old Statler Hotel sits the now empty Broderick Tower. The old Hotel Fort Shelby sits vacant and dying – closed for the past 42 years. Almost anywhere you go in Detroit, you are not far from the scenes of death, decay and vandalism. From the vacant and decaying Detroit Boat Club to the old Grande Ballroom, the list could go on forever. I want Detroit to come back but I am realistic enough to realize that this dream is years away. I would rather see articles in the Detroit News that hammer away at the Mayor, the City Council, the Governor of the State of Michigan in an attempt to find out how this dying city can be rescued.