Detroit Mayor Dave Bing reflected on his more than four years in office before members of the Detroit Economic Club on Wednesday at the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel.
With his family in attendance, Bing addressed successes, disappointments and opportunities for city improvement as he reaches the end of his tenure as mayor. He said his administration has helped prepare the city and the new mayor for economic and social improvements amid the challenges of having an emergency financial manager and a historic bankruptcy.
He illustrated the difficulties he faced when entering office, saying, “There were too many years of corruption, pay-to-play and hiring of family and friends. My administration made rebuilding trust in city government a top priority. It took 60-plus years to get us in the situation we are in, and it’s going to take some time to get this city back to the place many of you in this room fondly remember.”
A few of the accomplishments Bing is proud of are the removal of nearly 10,000 abandoned houses, preventing payless paydays for city employees, convincing General Motors to stay in Detroit during the auto crisis, improvements to Cobo Center, obtaining funds to tear down the Brewster-Douglass housing project and Ford Auditorium to make way for new developments, and working with business leaders who donated funds to acquire new vehicles for first responders.
“I want to mentor young black males. I grew up with my father always in my home and I saw how with very little education he was able to succeed. I was the first in my family to go to college and I knew that I wanted to own my own business. I learned a lot from my father and I think there are many people out there who need someone who can listen, who understands where they’re coming from…I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to realize my dream of being a professional athlete, of being a business owner and of being mayor of this great city.”
Bing said he’s going to do something he hasn’t done in 47 years – take a two-week vacation – and ended his remarks by thanking the public.
“I couldn’t have done this without all of you. Thank you to Detroiters who have lived in this city for many years and stayed during tough times. Thank you to those who are now calling Detroit home – welcome. It might be hard to believe, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, thank you.”