Corktown Community Meeting
Monday, June 15, 2015
Gerry Abela Tim McKay
Evan Ambrose Todd Mistor
Linda Bain Stacy Mulloy
Alice Bagley Ashok Patel
Joe Brown John PincHuan (sp?)
Councilmember Castaneda-Lopez DPD Off. Pugh
State Representative Stephanie Chang Rico Razo
Judith Christensen Susan Sherer
Ron Cooley Dave Steinke
DPD Chief Craig DPD Off. Theut
Suzette Daye Lauren Thomas
Steve DiPonio DPD Captain Tosqui
Kelley Fowler Debra Walker
Dawn Johnson Jennie Weakley
Kennis Johnsonel Senator C. A. Young, Jr.
Vince Keenan Joyce A. Druer (sp?)
Introductions and Community Insights –
Concern about the Traffic Light Study underway at Michigan Ave. and Sixth Street is an MDOT issue, and not city of Detroit Traffic Department. MDOT will be contacted to present at a future meeting.
AmeriCorps will be working with Corktown conducting Bike Patrols with DPD. Volunteers are needed.
The Murphy Play Lot has received a grant from Greening of Detroit and will host events during the summer – Drum Circle, Art Fair and Yoga are planned.
The next West Riverfront concert will be Jimmy Buffett on Thursday, June 25th. Olympia Entertainment, hosts of the concerts, has been responsive to community concerns and want feedback following each event.
The Belle Isle Advisory Commission will meet June 18th at the Boat Club to address resident concerns about events, law enforcement, etc.
The audience was encouraged to pick up the Safety Tip and Resource list.
jessica care moore was recognized as a Corktown neighbor who recently performed at New York’s Apollo Theater and as the founder of Black Women Rock.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Corktown Business Association were thanked for their continued support.
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Corktown Business Association / Ron Cooley –
There are currently 100 dues paying members of the CBA. They are working on an initiative to open more of the vacant properties as parking lots. There is a goal to implement the Lighthouse project in Corktown. This program currently exists with Ilitch and Quicken Companies downtown and includes businesses displaying lights and a special logo as a safe haven for individuals who feel they may be in danger. Training is included and these safe havens are generally establishments open 24 hours. The only 24 hour business in Corktown is the Gas Station. The initiative will start with them. However, businesses open at least 16 hours will also be able to participate. The Corktown Hotel asked about how to join this program. Cooley also talked about an Ambassador Program that is in place in Grand Rapids and the possibility of doing something similar in Detroit. He also talked about the numerous new plants and flowers throughout the community.
DPD Chief Craig –
The success of the Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) program was discussed. He stressed the importance of knowing your NPO and engaging them in the community. Even with the NPOs there are still fewer officers.
Homicides have increased, but that increase is based on a decrease of last year over the previous year. Generally homicides in the city are among known acquaintances. Rarely random killings. Robberies, carjackings and car thefts have all decreased. These are also generally random acts.
He noted that involved communities with patrols and engaged residents are safer. Corktown is a model for what can work.
Craig talked about the Lighthouse program being recognized by Homeland Security and expanding to neighborhoods. There are currently 15 gas stations and 15 McDonalds have pledged to participate.
The concern that neighborhoods get less attention than downtown and midtown was addressed. Chief Craig said the neighborhoods get more resources because that’s where there is more violence. Crime prevention is the responsibility of everyone – the community should take the lead, not the police.
He briefly mentioned the Drug Forfeiture program relative to a specific issue in Corktown. He asked the resident to work with Captain Tosqui.
There was concern about response time from 911. If it is a crime in progress, the 911 should be an immediate response. Crimes are reported / dispatched based on priority. It is important to provide as much information and as clearly as possible when calling 911. Chief talked about the pilot Roving Report Unit that is available Thursday thru Saturday, where victims do not need to go to the precinct to report car thefts. The unit will come to them. While there have not been many incidents since this pilot launched, the businesses appreciate the additional patrols as a crime deterrent.
The fact that the entire Corktown neighborhood is not included in the 3rd Precinct was a concern to the chief. He likes maintaining the integrity of a neighborhood. He asked for a proposed map of the entire Corktown community that should be in one precinct.
Residents acknowledged the great work of the Beat Officers Pugh and Theut, Sgt. Johnson and Capt. Tosqui.
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DPD Captain Tosqui –
Captain provided the latest crime stats for Corktown and stated that all areas are trending down – assaults, robberies, burglaries and stolen vehicles. He recognized Shinola for building and donating four bikes – two of which are used by the Corktown officers.
He mentioned his new expanded responsibilities. There is no longer a 1st Precinct. That [downtown] area now has a special services division. Crime, etc. is handled by Tosqui, along with his 3rd Precinct responsibilities. There are no new maps available yet. Part of his new responsibilities include the Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO). He has plans to clean up the area and clear away the crime element. This includes checking out the ownership of the vacant lots in the area where drug deals are done, and asking DDOT to move the Bust Stop and increase Transit Police. Tosqui stated that NSO is not the problem; and understands the plight and needs of the homeless. There are several suburban organizations that come by the bus loads and distribute food – illegally – and sometimes just throw the food out of the bus window. This accounts for a lot of the trash and disruption. He has no plans to displace the homeless, but only to remove the criminal element and the dumping.
City Councilmember Castaneda-Lopez –
Councilmember provided a list of upcoming District 6 meetings and encouraged everyone to attend. The next meeting, June 30th will be at the District Office on Rosa Parks and the theme will be Safety. She also discussed the proposed change in curfew for Fireworks’ night and the three earlier nights of River Days. The curfew would only include downtown boundaries. There is a Public Hearing for residents to make comments on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.
Castaneda-Lopez talked about the proposed Riverside Park land swap and an upcoming Community Meeting and a goal for a formal Council Public Hearing so everyone can learn the contents of the ‘deal’ in its entirety to make an educated decision.
Councilmember also talked about the air quality relative to a company expanding its hub for equipment in Delray and the possible increased traffic that would also impact Fort Wayne.
She stated that he has summer youth workers who will be door knocking and providing information about resources available in the District 6 office.
Councilmember said she would look into the process / permits for the numerous planes flying overhead with advertisements. Especially since the West Riverfront is now hosting events.
Traffic Engineering / Ashok Patel –
Patel provided the process for communities to create Residents’ Only Parking areas. It was determined that a subcommittee will be established to use the process and identify specific streets desiring this designation in Corktown.
State Representative Chang –
Chang discussed the Community Benefits Ordinance currently not having sufficient support in Lansing. This would remove local governments from having input into wages, etc. and the state would control all aspects of development. This has unfortunately passed in the House and is headed to the Senate in a somewhat different form. If it passes the Senate, there is a possibility the Governor may veto, but that should not be counted on. It is important to contact your senator and the governor and let them know you want Community Benefits to be a right of local government and residents.
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Riverside Park / Rico Razo –
Razo provided a presentation about the recreational benefits and opportunities relative to the proposed Riverside Park land swap deal. Pictures of the park and proposed improvements were shown. He stated that this deal is on the agenda for both committees in which it resides – Planning & Economics and Neighborhoods – both Thursday (10a and 1p), and the public is invited to attend and make comments. Following approval from both committees, the deal will go to Council for final Approval. He also mentioned an upcoming Riverside Park Community Meeting – Thursday, June 25th at LaSed, 7150 W. Vernor. Senator Young was concern about possible contamination. It was stated that remediation has occurred; and any levels are low enough for the park to be open.
Someone also asked about the old UniRoyal property immediately west of Belle Isle. The contamination issues there are severe. It was recommended to turn it into a botanical garden.
D Insurance / Vince Keenan –
Keenan provided a history of Michigan’s current auto insurance cost rationale along with actuarial data, and why auto insurance is higher in the city of Detroit than elsewhere in the state. Surprisingly this discrepancy is not based vehicle crime, but lack of health care and the need and cost for that coverage. This new insurance would provide for a cap and limit health care payments. That is the concern of the State Representative Chang and State Senator Young. The medical needs of victims of catastrophic accidents would be at great risk. There are currently no price controls in place for insurance companies, but there are controls on hospitals. There is a strong Insurance Lobby. If the bill passes there would be two insurance companies identified to sell this insurance to residents. The Bill would supposedly cut residents’ insurance by about $1,000 annually. The question arose how this would impact that fact that Michigan is a No Fault Insurance State. It was stated that would not change because of this Bill. If this is passed and is successful, the same idea would be considered for home and business insurance. NOTE: I want to share the presentation electronically, to provide the detailed information. I only hope I captured the presentation accurately.
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- Unfortunately, time did not permit Jennie Weakley to present the Time Bank initiative. She will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
- The city's Municipal Parking representative did not show. Their plan was to discuss the new parking meter proposal.
- The DPD Beat Officers have a Workstation where they can write their reports so they no longer need to leave the community to do so. It is located in MetroTech on Michigan and Brooklyn. Signage will be added soon.
- Concerns about the appropriate time to use the GroupMe Crime Text alert system were not discussed. If you feel it is a 'real time' emergency that impacts your neighbors, please post, after calling 911. It has been quite effective. Any conversations should be discussed on the Corktown Neighborhood Facebook page.
"That's what she said"