The Motor City’s population is back where it was 100 years ago, dropping 25% since the 2000 census to 713,777. Ex-NBA star and current Mayor Dave Bing says “the city would seek a recount,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“If we could go out and identify another 40,000 people that were missed, and it brings us over the threshold of 750,000, that would make a difference from what we can get from the federal and state government,” Mr. Bing said at a news conference Tuesday.
In the 1950′s, when all Americans aspired to drive Chevrolets, Detroit was the center of the car-making universe, and a couple million people lived in the Motor City. Detroit was also headquarters for the Motown sound, with Berry Gordy’s Motown Record Corporation operating out of the Hitsville U.S.A Motown building located at 2648 West Grand Blvd from 1959 to 1968. Motown had 110 top 10 hits between 1961 and 1971.
During the city’s boom, writer George Plimpton made the Detroit Lions famous with his book Paper Lion. A then 36-year old Plimpton joined the 1963 Detroit Lions training camp attempting to be the team’s 3rd string quarterback. The book was made into a movie and launched a movie and television career for Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras.
Detroit’s Tigers couldn’t win during the city’s hay day, but the team featured Al Kaline, who at 20 years old was the American League batting champion in 1955, hitting .340. Kaline would go on to win 10 Golden Gloves and play in 15 All Star games.
Now Forbes reports that Detroit is the 10th emptiest city in the nation. “The Motor City’s population is shrinking faster than its housing stock, although Detroit has demolished entire blocks in an effort to clear its neighborhoods of vacant homes. The vacancy rate for single-family homes is just a couple of ticks above the national average of 2.7%.”
Mayor Bing has put together a plan to entice police officers who live outside Detroit to buy homes in the city. A couple hospitals are doing the same, but it’s a tough sell, “People are still looking to move out for safety and services,” said Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit, which compiles Census data for the city. Taxes remain high and the schools are failing according to the WSJ.
But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Fresh from being fired from his Two and Half Men job, Charlie Sheen is taking his show on the road. Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option Tour” sold out in 18 minutes.
First stop, Fox Theatre Detroit, Michigan. Sheen has a message that Detroit needs.
Charlie, please hold a ticket for Mayor Bing.