Should Franklin be more like…Detroit?

Don’t laugh, no matter how laughable you may find the blog title to be.

The question is very serious, in one respect which I will get to.

In a recent posting on Urban Milwaukee’s website, Jeramey Jannene suggested there were 5 things Milwaukee should steal from Detroit. They included expanding the Public Market, taking advantage of “Game Days” (pro sports events), building a downtown beach, and embracing the city’s brand.

Needless to say none of those apply to Franklin. They’re all I’m sure quite foreign to many Franklin residents, some of whom are still learning the Twist. Such ideas may not even come up for discussion in Franklin until the next millennium.

But one suggestion Urban Milwaukee made is one Franklin should embrace, no matter how bold or aggressive or insurmountable it may sound:

Capture the Can-Do Attitude

Detroit’s civic spirit can serve as an inspiration for Milwaukee. Talk to all but Milwaukee’s biggest boosters, and they’ll tell you the city is improving, but still faces plenty of challenges. In Detroit everyone I talked to, from bartenders to random people on the street, boasted about their city, even if they were standing in front of an abandoned building while doing so. This isn’t a call to ignore Milwaukee’s problems, it’s a call to sell Milwaukee’s strengths.

In Detroit, that attitude allowed people like Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert to buy up a substantial number of derelict properties in downtown Detroit with the intent of reinvigorating the dormant city center. Between my 2013 visit and more recent visits, the rise of such investment is clearly visible through the number of rehabbed buildings and amount of new construction happening. While Milwaukee hems and haws for years over things like the streetcar, Detroit fast-tracks new investments like their new light rail system, M-1 RAIL and a new hockey arena (and surrounding development).

I’m not advocating throwing caution to the wind, but it would seem Detroit’s civic spirit emphasizes doing more and doing it faster than Milwaukee’s. I mean, how long has Milwaukee discussed maybe, just maybe, changing the city flag?

Maybe not the best analogy. But hopefully you, and others,  get the point.


One thought on “Should Franklin be more like…Detroit?

  1. Pingback: ICYMI over the weekend | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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