Entrepreneurs think high quality public places like parks, libraries, trails and the riverfront are some of the most important investments Detroit can make.
So say the national and local leaders queried in The Kresge Foundation’s Detroit Reinvestment Index, a survey that examined the perceptions of businesspeople about Detroit. The Kresge Foundation found that eight in 10 business leaders in Detroit and around the country believe that the city can continue its comeback and rise to become a great American city once more.
The report demonstrated that business leaders understand the value of investment in the civic commons:
- 19% of entrepreneurs in the city said high-quality public places were the most important attributes to running a small business—the top choice over options like low taxes and a motivated workforce.
- 77% of national business leaders and 78% of Detroit entrepreneurs said high-quality public places are necessary for business success.
- 46% of Detroit’s entrepreneurs said improving the pace of revitalizing and rehabilitating neighborhoods and communities is one of the top two things small business owners primarily need to succeed in Detroit. This was tied with skilled workers for the top spot.
In Detroit, Reimagining the Civic Commons investments include a new city park, a non-motorized greenway, and “neighborhood hubs,” which could become community gardens, volleyball courts or other community-chosen spaces. It will also transform vacant lots into new land-based agribusinesses that could grow food or other crops.
People working on these projects understand that public assets like parks and recreation centers enable neighborhoods to prosper, improve sustainability, and foster relationships among people of diverse backgrounds. And it turns out that business leaders understand the impact of quality public places on a city’s economic success as well.