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Damon
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Username: Damon

Post Number: 633
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 172.142.120.19
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 7:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/ business/chi-0601030247jan03,1 ,5773742.story?coll=chi-news-h ed

Super Bowl host polishing image
Much-maligned Detroit hopes the game will showcase its improvements to visitors

By David Haugh
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 3, 2006


DETROIT -- Across St. Antoine's Street from Ford Field, orange barrels and netting mark off a construction zone where a half-dozen bulldozers and cherry pickers are parked.

One block southeast of the Detroit Lions' $430 million home on Brush Street, a decaying building with a boarded door and graffiti illustrates the way poverty and prosperity intersect in this Super Bowl host city.

There is Greektown, a Chicago-styled neighborhood full of choice restaurants, old churches and a casino. There are panhandlers, neglected patches of land and other reminders of Detroit's unwanted label as America's poorest city if you stroll too far in another direction. There are places to treasure and avoid.

Welcome to football Shangri-La for the Bears and the 11 other NFL playoff teams who began planning Monday for a trip to a rare cold-weather destination playing host to its first Super Bowl since 1982 at the Pontiac Silverdome.

If Detroit can successfully pull off its party, it will encourage leaders in other northern cities such as Mayor Richard Daley, who has floated the idea of a Super Bowl coming to Chicago as part of a grand plan for the future that includes the 2016 Olympics and a second NFL team.

Bears fans can think of no better way to meld the city's football past and present than to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1985 champions by watching this season's team keep its mojo working all the way to Motown.

With 33 days until kickoff, the Bears appear closer to a finished product ready for a Super Bowl setting than parts of downtown Detroit looked Monday. The passion in Ken Kettenbeil's voice suggested the big picture eventually will glisten more than any small blemishes that may need to be touched up.

"We look at this as an opportunity to reintroduce Detroit to the world," said Kettenbeil, the vice president of communications for the Super Bowl XL host committee formed in 2002.

Kettenbeil has talked extensively with officials at previous sites in Jacksonville and Houston to develop ways to shape the perception of reporters he knows will arrive with nits to pick.

"Detroit has a reputation, and what the Super Bowl will allow us to do is showcase the changes here," he said. "It's an unfair reputation tagged to the city, and we look forward to showing that to people who haven't been here in five, 10 or 15 years. We've prepared for this."

They will continue preparing through rain, sleet or snow--a four-letter word to organizers--if Monday is any indication.

One block west of Comerica Park--home of baseball's Tigers--construction worker Darryl Johnson dug a hole where he and his crew planned to put a new road sign. It was drizzling steadily and most everyone else who worked in the city still was enjoying a long holiday weekend.

But Johnson and dozens of other construction workers downtown clocked in with plenty still to do. Who can afford a day off with the world waiting?

"It's our time to shine and pretty the city up and make it a source of pride," said Johnson, a 35-year-old driller born and raised in Detroit. "Right here we're putting in a map of the city so people don't get lost."

Like most residents anticipating the biggest sporting event in the city's history, Johnson believes his hometown is headed in the right direction.

Change is good

Chris Hilty grew up in Bloomfield Hills, a Detroit suburb, but seldom ventured into the city.

"You just didn't come downtown back then," said Hilty, now the director of restaurants for the Detroit Marriott Renaissance, the main hotel for the 1,000 media members expected. "There was no focal point, no center."

Hilty left the area 20 years ago to start a career that took him to San Antonio, St. Louis and four years in Chicago. He returned last year to take his current job, wowed by a city he no longer recognized.

"I was surprised. It's really changed," he said. "There's still the crime issue and poverty and a real race problem that needs to be addressed, but things are so much better in terms of things to do. It's not Chicago, but it's improved a lot."

Nobody denies the Super Bowl accelerated that improvement.

In the last two years, 47 new businesses have opened downtown.

The city set aside $12 million for a program in which it would match 50 percent of the funds up to $150,000 per building to spur business owners to repair or renovate their structures downtown.

That program hit a few snags when some owners of rundown buildings failed to enroll in the program because they lacked the seed money. Meanwhile, well-kept places such as the Detroit Opera House and the Penobscot Building used the matching funds to spruce up places that already were spiffy.

City leaders even expanded the boundaries of eligible businesses in an attempt to get more needy business owners involved, and more participated.

On the roadways, the Michigan Department of Transportation has spent $1 billion on improvements in southeastern Michigan over the last three years, including key parts of Detroit that include I-94 and I-96.

While acknowledging that the upcoming Super Bowl might have helped workers hit their deadline, officials have resisted placing too tight of a link between the game and the road improvements. One local radio station Monday carried the comments from a spokesman saying how silly it is to think a city would invest all that money to fix roads for the Super Bowl just because "a writer in a limo might hit a chuckhole."

The host committee, headed by auto racing kingpin Roger Penske, operated with a $15 million budget and galvanized an army of 10,000 volunteers. The event itself is expected to bring in 100,000 visitors and generate an economic impact worth $300 million.

Even Canada will benefit. Windsor, accessible through a tunnel across the Detroit River, will house the 300 international media members and offer its own unique social outlets.

"We are confident we have come up with some great events and activities," Kettenbeil said. "The one thing we can't control is Mother Nature."

Bearing down

The average temperature in Detroit in February is 26 degrees. Monday, it was a balmy 39--which was interpreted locally as a good omen in a city worried about winter's wrath.

In last Sunday's Detroit Free Press in an editorial about headlines they would like to see in 2006, they wrote: "Freak thaw greets Super Bowl guests: RiverWalk throngs enthralled by ice floes rushing past."

Since Detroit was awarded the Super Bowl in 2000, the tale of the '82 game at the Silverdome on a day when 18 inches of snow fell and kept the stadium from filling up has been told time and again.

But the city has armed itself literally in case history repeats itself, or even if it gets a foot of snow as it did on the same weekend a year ago during a practice run of the Motown Winter Blast.

The host committee partnered with Wayne State University, which will lend 200 of the school's athletes to shovel snow off the city streets. Volunteers also will give free hand-warmers to travelers arriving at Detroit Metro Airport. Portable heaters will be set up every 150 feet at outdoor social events such as the Winter Blast.

Like a defensive coordinator game-planning against a good runner, the committee committed itself to stopping Jack Frost in his tracks this Super Bowl.

"So it might be a little cold," Kettenbeil said. "That would be the perfect weather for people coming over from Chicago, right?"

Now if the Bears can give them reason to make the trip.

----------

dhaugh@tribune.com


I think this article was done very fairly.
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Sharmaal
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Username: Sharmaal

Post Number: 506
Registered: 09-2004
Posted From: 69.14.76.187
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 7:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree. Tough, but fair.
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 327
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 7:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

good artice. lots of info... and FAIR!
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Detroits_own
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Username: Detroits_own

Post Number: 38
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 4.229.108.11
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 7:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Oh the arrogance "..a Chicago-Style neighborhood.."
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 328
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 7:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

haha....that did stand out to me too
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Supersport
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Username: Supersport

Post Number: 9697
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.246.37.236
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 8:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed. Give me a fuckin' break! As if this is some new area of Detroit or something. Aside from that, the article was pretty accurate I thought.
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Rsa
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Username: Rsa

Post Number: 740
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 70.227.84.43
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 8:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i was going to point that one out too, detroits_own.

here's another minor gripe:


quote:

But the city has armed itself literally in case history repeats itself...




so we've all bought guns so we can shoot snow if it falls?
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Supersport
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Username: Supersport

Post Number: 9698
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.246.37.236
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 8:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

:-)
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 727
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 205.188.116.201
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 8:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think it was a nice thing to say a Chicago style neighborhood. He was pretty fair with his article. Detroit has come a long way and still has a long way to go. Most of us say that every day.
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Audible_nectar
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Username: Audible_nectar

Post Number: 16
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 12.214.103.152
Posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 10:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As a former Chicago area resident and current reader/listener of David Haugh, I am not surprised by his balanced view of Detroit and the upcoming Super Bowl. He has always been one of my favorite sportswriters in Chicago, because he doesn't engage in the useless hyperbole that many others in that town do. He'll give you Detroiters a fair chance, just like he does our sports subjects in Chicago.

The one you DON'T want to hear from in Chicago is Jay Mariotti - and I'm sure he'll get his opinions in, Bears there or not, since he always gets the NFL/Super Bowl beat. That one won't be pretty.

As someone who is coming to Detroit for the festivities, I am optomistic and hopeful that this will go well.....at least to the extent that the local officials can control. Even the weather seems to be accounted for to the extent possible (extra plows and equipments rented for the purpose), and it looks like one helluva party is gonna happen downtown, too.....

The low expectations might well be a good thing, over the long run. Mine are quite high, actually - given what I've read about so far. I think the press and public at large are selling your city short. I'll say this - Detroit gets advance points for TRYING - it seems "can't" isn't in their (organizers) vocabulary. There is a major effort to do well, and more important is that it seems that your city will have some lasting benefits from the Super Bowl having been there.

Did I mention that this is gonna be one helluva party? :-)
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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1261
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 63.172.63.153
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 5:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I had no idea that "driller" was an actual occupation.
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Susanarosa
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Username: Susanarosa

Post Number: 620
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 208.39.170.90
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 5:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Kinda like window glaziers...
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Naturalsister
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Username: Naturalsister

Post Number: 423
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.30.89.151
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 5:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

More than 47 businesses though. Yeah, Chicago style. 1773, We are a whole 72 older than them.

later - naturalsister
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Damon
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Username: Damon

Post Number: 635
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 172.135.59.244
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 2:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'll be shocked if the media reports are kind to Detroit during the Super Bowl. Im hoping for the best though.
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Atl_runner
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Username: Atl_runner

Post Number: 1761
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.209.118.72
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 2:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Although he could have phrased it better, I believe 'Chicago-styled neighborhood' was used to give local Chicago readers a visual cue to what Greektown is like. In that regard, he is on the money.

Good article all the way around.
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Damon
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Username: Damon

Post Number: 638
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 172.157.7.92
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 6:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree Atl_runner. Thats exactly what he was trying to illustrate.
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Cynknight
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Username: Cynknight

Post Number: 52
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 70.88.110.14
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 7:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nice to read an article where the good and bad are both mentioned. Accurate and fair. The mark of a good journalist.
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Detroit_stylin
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Username: Detroit_stylin

Post Number: 2229
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.202.227.12
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 8:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah we need some of those journalists to work for OUR papers...


fair and balanced
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Knocturnal
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Username: Knocturnal

Post Number: 67
Registered: 10-2004
Posted From: 24.176.50.206
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

72 years older than Chi-town but light years behind in many other aspects.
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Fnemecek
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Username: Fnemecek

Post Number: 1427
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Posted From: 70.227.217.228
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 5:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Oh the arrogance "..a Chicago-Style neighborhood.."



They're just jealous that we've had two Super Bowls and they've had none.

And we'll probably get our third before they get their first.
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Ndavies
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Username: Ndavies

Post Number: 1518
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 129.9.163.233
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 5:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They'll have to build a domed stadium to get a superbowl.

None of those high powered advertisers who get most of the tickets are going to sit out in the cold for 4 hours.
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1953
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Username: 1953

Post Number: 657
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Posted From: 209.104.146.146
Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 5:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit is superior to Chicago in all regards.
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J32885
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Username: J32885

Post Number: 19
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 68.41.108.161
Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2006 - 11:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great article by the Chicago Tribune.

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