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LTU-WWJ Panel Tackles Rebuilding Detroit

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit is attracting more young professionals but still has many of the same problems blocking its long-term success -- a dysfunctional school system and public safety problems.

That was part of the discussion Thursday during a WWJ Unwired Series program at Lawrence Technological University.

Hear the discussion:

Resurrecting Detroit Part 1

Resurrecting Detroit Part 2

One of the panelists, Compuware Corp. Executive Chairman Peter Karmanos, said the city should set up a specific area -- he proposed around Eastern Market -- that would get extra attention and services, with a target of getting 150,000 people to live and work there.

He said retailers should also be subsidized for moving in to the city.

Another panelist, Art Van Furniture CEO Kim Yost, announced that Art Van is in the early stages of planning stores for Detroit. The "Urban Art" stores would be smaller than existing Art Van stores, and would feature more compact furniture -- better suited for apartment and loft living.

Yost also emphasized repeatedly that everyone connected with the rebirth of Detroit, including all 700,000-plus Deteroiters, need to share a common vision of the city's success. He said there is no lack of ideas or groups committed to improving Detroit -- but rather a lack of a common vision and a winning attitude.

Panelist Deirdre Greene Groves, executive director of The Collaborative Group, outlined her group's Challenge Detroit program that is expected to launch early next year and bring 30 young professionals into Detroit to live and work in the city.  But the group would also conduct challenges to help the city rebound.

WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas and Technology Editor Matt Roush emceed the program.

There's a podcast of the audio of the program at CBS, where there will also soon be complete video coverage.

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