Blog: Jacquie Trost

Jacquie Trost is a marketing manager at the Detroit Regional Chamber and native Michigander. She is also a member of the American Marketing Association, Public Relations Society of America and Women in Communications. Jacquie will be writing about the revitalization of the City, the perception of Detroit and the "wants and needs" of young professionals.

Post No. 4

 If I don’t live in Detroit proper I’m told my opinions on the City don’t matter. 

If I talk about living outside the City, but mention I patronize and promote Detroit, I’m told I am a non-voting pseudo-cheerleader -- which means I have no right to speak my opinions on the City. 

Fortunately, a blog, by definition, is a personal commentary. 

The unfortunate thing is, the same stale issues and problems preventing people, like me, from moving downtown still exist. Clearly government and civic organizations aren’t receiving the message; otherwise they’d be making changes to combat the issues Detroit is facing. In fact, most of the attraction efforts led by the various City organizations are not aimed at getting people to move into the City, they’re focused on getting more people to visit the City. Is that to blame? 

A few years ago I was going to move to Detroit but when it came down to it, the astronomical cost of my car and renters insurance made it virtually impossible.  When I was looking to buy a home this past year, the same issues arose. Except this time I had to worry about high City property taxes and potentially losing my investment if the Detroit housing market didn’t rebound. We all have our reasons for moving (or not moving) to the City, but part of the problem might just be the elitist attitude some Detroit residents have when it comes to "outsiders" talking about their City. 

It’s going to take more than a few new restaurants, cultural events, lofts or attractions for people to start moving back. Some serious changes need to be made. If potential residents and businesses don’t think they can trust their leaders, or think City officials are corrupt, they won’t reside in Detroit anyway.  When residents perceive the City to care more about tourists than the people actually living in the City, what are we left with? Could that be an issue needing to be sorted out?  

The only hope the City has is for us "cheerleaders" to talk about Detroit. Maybe then more people will come downtown, pumping more money into the local economy, creating more City jobs, justifying more reliable city services and amenities, ultimately attracting more people to move downtown. In fact, I think an endorsement by a non-Detroit resident is a positive thing -- especially if that person has had negative experiences in the City. I’ve taken relatives and friends to areas downtown they never knew existed, to eat at restaurant they’ve never heard about, and to see new developments being built. Every time, those same people are surprised at what’s going on downtown, mentioning how they are now going to promote the positive changes in Detroit. The only way to combat Detroit’s perception is through education. 

I admire those who are able to live in Corktown, buy a fixer-upper in Boston Edison, or afford one of the new lofts -- those who want to live downtown-- because they believe in the City and want to be a part of the resurgence. But there are many of us who can’t, or won’t, because our personal and financial situations won’t allow it.   

Someone recently made a good point: Ultimately Detroit needs to get its priorities straight. It not so much about the pridefulness of City residents and suburbanite naysayer’s, it’s about Detroit taking care of its residents first. What matters more -- the “flash in the pan” economic burst that comes along with tourism? Or is it a stable economy made up of satisfied Detroit residents who live, work and positively promote the city.