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Archer's Legacy Will Be Long-Term Progress

30 May 2001

The dust has settled somewhat since Dennis Archer's surprise announcement that he will not seek reelection as Mayor of the City of Detroit. A lot has been written about this subject, and initially, I was inclined to skip the topic in this column. Recently, I attended a "Major City Forum" put on by the Economic Club of Lansing at which Mayor Archer, together with Grand Rapids Mayor John Logie and Lansing Mayor David Hollister, spoke. At this event, each Mayor discussed his respective city and the important steps that need to be taken to spur economic development and activity.

Notably, there was unanimous agreement among the Mayors on the key factor necessary to attract and retain new businesses and spur population growth - education. Mayor Logie noted that the quality of the schools in the community is more important than any other factor in attracting new business. He further noted that it is often a factor over which the Mayor or city government has little control. Mayor Hollister agreed, yet detailed his efforts to work with school officials to enhance and improve the quality of Lansing area schools. Then, it was Mayor Archer's turn. There was a momentary pause as he considered what to say, but then he acknowledged the critical role schools play in attracting residents and businesses. He then said that he had paid a huge political price for his efforts to improve school quality in Detroit. Yet, he said, he would do it all over again because he was convinced it was the right thing to do.

Each Mayor had his own success stories to tell about economic growth in his community. However, Mayor Archer's story stood out. Archer highlighted the billions of dollars of investments that have been made to improve downtown Detroit. These projects include:

-Three private casino gaming complexes each complete with 75,000 square feet of gaming space, a wide varity of restaurants and new user-friendly parking lots.

-Refurbishment of the Renaissance Center by General Motors and the scheduled addition of 45 retail stores and a Winter Garden complex that will grace the riverfront side of the Renaissance Center.

-Comerica Park which is the new home for the Detroit Tigers.

-The construction of Ford Field adjacent to Comerica Park, which will result in the return of the Detroit Lions to downtown Detroit.

-Construction of Compuware's $800 million World Headquarters in the Center of Detroit's Central Business District.

-Redesign of Kennedy Square, complete with new roads and green space.

-Influx of nightclub and loft developments on Woodward Avenue just north of the Compuware World Headquarters project.

Archer noted that the improvements to Detroit's downtown sometimes shadow those that have been made to Detroit's neighborhoods. However, he stated that all of the billions of dollars spent and scheduled to be spent in downtown Detroit is dwarfed by what has been spent on housing and retail projects in Detroit's neighborhoods. Archer noted that Detroit urban residential housing areas have many obstacles to overcome, but with the reduction in business and personal income tax over the next 10 years and with the continued focus on improving City services and its educational system he predicts a bright future for Detroit.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com