What the Super Bowl means to the City of Detroit

Happy Super Bowl Bowl Sunday SuperSpade supporters!

No, this is NOT a sports story. However, it is a story about what a sporting event can do for the city I love: Detroit. This week Detroit has had more visitors from out of town than it has hosted since Detroit’s last Super Bowl in 1981. People had both positive and negative takeaways from that event. Let’s talk about the positive things people should have in their minds as they leave the city and the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is the single biggest night in sports, in television, in the year. It is the most watched, most listened to, event every year. Many are the benefits experienced by the game’s host city. Aside from being on TV that particular [January or] February night, the city gets boatloads of money from the NFL and its partners to be used for event preparation. Add to these monies work by local investors and contractors to prepare their city, focusing their efforts on construction and cleanup.

When all of the visitors are gone, there are hree things I’d like them to take back to their respective residences besides their
belongings and souvenirs.

1. Detroit is an attractive investment Those visiting the city of Detroit will see three things: development,
development, and more development. The entire Downtown Detroit area is in the midst of massive redevelopment of both commercial and residential properties. Even with all of that activity, even the naked eye will still see tremendous opportunities for investment Downtown and in surrounding areas, such as those near Wayne State University or areas on the east side near City Airport. Real estate is relatively inexpensive in and around the city, and tax incentives are in place for individuals to open restaurants, nightclubs, and other businesses in Detroit. Opportunities for people from other places to invest themselves or partner with local investment groups
are open and available, and should be strongly considered.

2. Detroit is a nice place to visit
People from Detroit and those visiting Detroit have been having a great time in and around the city for the past week-and-a-half. As with any Super Bowl or large event, celebrities from the worlds of sports and entertainment are having parties and charity events. What is important to note in all of this is the different venues being showcased. Clubs and restaurants throughout the city are taking advantage of this time to show off their facilities to a vast audience. Seeing how beautiful these places are will encourage people to come back into Downtown when they are looking to enjoy themselves. People can also experience the fruits of the beautification efforts all around the city. Campus Martius, Harmony Park, Hart Plaza, The Riverfront. All of these areas have received recent facelifts and are
on display during these times. The outdoor venues are presenting themselves and showing people why they will be great, fun places to experience when the weather turns. Detroit residents, suburban residents, and out-of-towners alike are all seeing that they can and will have a good time in the City of Detroit.

3. Detroit is a great city
People will leave this peaceful and enjoyable Detroit Super Bowl experience with a better perception of the city. Even people within the City Limits think that Detroit is a bad and dangerous place. The media has not been kind to neither Detroit nor its leadership for the past 20 years. None of that matters. People will now see the Detroit of today and the Detroit of the future. They will see a city that has survived trying times and has not laid down. This is a town
redefining itself and re-committing itself to success and excellence. Challenges persist, but persistent planning and optimism will always
overcome all adversity.

May the City of Detroit build on its momentum and Super Bowl success.



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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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