Wednesday, October 01, 2014

This year the National MainStreet conference was held in Detroit, Michigan, a town with a terrible reputation. The worst town in America, Murder Capital of the USA, bankrupt, corrupt, ruined, a sewer are just to name a few.

There are  a ton of theories and speculation on how this came to pass. Corrupt politicians, greed of the automotive industry, and the laziness of the American worker. 

My friend and Detroit resident, Maureen Kearns, said she believes the industrial revolution brought decent down not only on Detroit, but all of America.  And she’s right, Detroit created the automobile and soon everyone had to own one, we needed roads to drive them on so we created the suburbs and urban sprawl. In doing so, we abandoned our cities and left our downtowns to the roaches, rats, and underbelly of society. 

But Detroit isn’t taking this lying down. To me, an outsider, taking tours and talking with locals I believe most of the residents in Detroit feel the same as Maureen.

You can see the pride and resolve of Detroit in the statue of Joe Lewis’s fist in Hart Plaza downtown, and in Maureen Kearns resident and Detroit Segway Tour owner, “Detroit is my city and I will go anywhere I need to go. This is my town. I love it.” 

These are people with spirit and determination, hope and sweat equity. Building a community by working together, making Detroit the way THEY want it to be, the way THEY view Detroit, strong, vibrant, caring, and engaged.

They are doing it in spite of their government . They are using their own money or money that people who made their fame and fortune in Detroit are bringing back to the city. 

Kelli, part owner of Wheelhouse Bike Rentals and Tours was a font of knowledge and involvement. She took us on a ten mile bike ride into Corktown, where we met Phil Cooley a young man who moved to Detroit and started the revitalization of Corktown and an incubator for entrepreneurs 

 with no other money or means. He gives them a nurturing space to create and expand their creativity and horizons. It costs him money, but as he states, “As long as my other businesses are making money I can afford to give back to this town and these amazingly talented people.” 

It doesn’t stop there, no,  the hope and spirit is in the car driver, waitress, hotel worker, and resident. You can feel it vibrating as you walk down the street from the buildings, and the people. The city teems with excitement. It is a on the threshold of reinvention. I cannot wait to see Detroit in a year, five years and ten years.  

You may be asking what does this have to do with Venice? I was talking with a community leader from Michigan, a main street manager or chamber president, I can’t remember which. In a conversation she told me her city government was corrupt, council members were taking brides making it next to impossible to get anything accomplished. She felt all government officials are like corrupt.

Not Venice. Our mayor, city council and staff are dedicated to making our city a vibrant thriving community. We are partners working together with other organizations to make our city grand. I really can’t imagine our council members taking bribes. I have had many lengthy conversations with them all, and though they each have their own unique view, they are loyal to Venice through and through.

Venice is also changing and reinventing itself. We have made huge advances in technology and ideology. We are becoming a bigger city, a vibrant city, full of change and promise. 

If you care about Venice and want to be a part of the change happening here, now is the time to get involved. Join a committee on Venice  MainStreet, VABI, or Venice Heritage. Volunteer at The Venice Museum and Archives, Venice Theatre or The Venice Art center. Now is the time to have your voice heard, act now or forever hold your peace.

Blog

Greetings from the Voice of Venice. Our new website has been up for a while, but there was a challenge with the Blog. It is now go go go. This will be the place for pretty pictures, reminders and info on upcoming events and the background scoop on downtown Venice. If you missed the VMS Arts & Crafts Festival this past week end, it was a great show. The humidity was down and the crowds were up. The rains held off, so everybody was happy. This was the first two days at work for Venice MainStreet's new Executive Director Cat. Yes, she has a last name which I keep forgetting. She has promised to post something soon telling about herself and posting a picture so we can all recognize her to call out a how-de-doo, welcome neighbor. VMS and Cat have all kinds of ideas for VMS downtown. If you're looking for a good place to volunteer, now is the time. If you have info to share about downtown, please send to Cat at Venice MainStreet. I'll be back real soon.

Blog

Welcome To Venice, FlWelcome to the first blog from the Voice of Venice. The Voice will be presenting information on downtown Venice and Venice MainStreet. Venice MainStreet is a 501c3 non profit organization dedicated to the Beautification, Historic Preservation, Economic and Community Vitality of our beautiful, downtown area. We will be covering community events that happen downtown, historic preservation activities and community improvements. Expect to hear about businesses opening, closing, moving or expanding. There will be some community profiles done on persons of interest to us. Business stories on new projects or merchandise lines may be profiled. Plus I hope to be sharing many photographs, not only ours, but some of yours. This will be the place to share wonderful stories and photographs. We hope to become a Voice you’ll want to share and enjoy.

Read more: The Voice of Venice

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