Duggan to address schools in State of the City address

Mayor Mike Duggan will deliver his fifth state of the city address Tuesday with plans to discuss new partnerships with Detroit schools in an effort to improve education for youth.

Duggan, who is serving a second term, wants to ensure families in Detroit have access to good options when it comes to education, said Alexis Wiley, Duggan’s chief of staff.

“One of the biggest themes he is really focusing on is what kind of city are we building for our children,” Wiley said. “He’s been working for a long time at how we can make a meaningful difference.”

Wiley would not elaborate on how Duggan’s new initiatives will work or how he would expand existing programs between the city and schools. Duggan’s speech is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Western International High School on the city’s southwest side.

Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is set to introduce Duggan, according to the district.

Duggan also plans to discuss spreading crime-fighting tactics through precincts across Detroit, Wiley said.

Last month, Duggan announced that his $2 billion budget plan included an $8 million boost to the city’s Police Department budget to create 141 new full-time positions. Hiring more police officers, Duggan said, would allow the city to expand its Project Green Light and Ceasefire crime-fighting programs.

Wiley said the mayor will also talk about the city’s efforts to improve neighborhoods.

She declined to say what Duggan has planned specifically.

However, Duggan focused heavily on improving basic city services in his first four years and made progress on rebuilding business districts in some neighborhoods.

In October, Detroit’s council signed off on a $125 million bond program to revitalize a couple of dozen key commercial corridors.

Under the plan, major infrastructure improvements are planned in the Livernois-McNichols, West Vernor and East Warren districts, among others. The upgrades will range from landscaping to bike lanes, improved on-street parking and wider sidewalks.

Duggan’s proposed budget also allows Detroit to double the rate of commercial demolitions with a goal of having all “unsalvageable” buildings on major streets razed by 2019.

Last year, the mayor’s address promised more job training, affordable housing and rebuilding neighborhoods. He has made some progress in each of those areas, most notably rolling out the Detroit At Work program, which has helped more than 500 Detroiters land jobs.

Duggan will deliver his speech Tuesday evening with a PowerPoint presentation, Wiley said.

“Really the speech is focused on how we as a city will create opportunities for everyone in the city,” Wiley said. “And building on the work that’s been done over the past four years and what we are focused on for the next.”

State of the City Address

7 p.m. Tuesday

Western International High School, 1500 Scotten St., Detroit

Source: The Detroit News

Photo Courtesy: The Detroit News