Hello friends, it’s Jer. Keeping you in the loop on what to know and where to go around Metro Detroit on a Wednesday.

What to know…

» The long-vacant Fisher Body 21 will be transformed into 430+ apartments, co-working space and retail. Led by African-American developers, the project is slated to be complete in 2025. Built in 1919, this is one we didn’t expect to get rehabbed.

» Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other leaders are calling for a Federal Gas Tax holiday to help lower rising prices. That amounts to Federal gas tax is 18.3c a gallon and diesel runs 24.3c a gallon.

  • Critics point out that the real way to reduce prices (and help the environment) is to reduce overall demand.

  • Is your situation being hurt by gas prices? Here’s our unscientific Twitter flash poll.

» Speaking of transportation, I’m getting word that there is a move afoot tonight among the Macomb Township board of trustees to leave SMART (the suburban bus system). The fast-growing, politically ruby-red community of more than 90,000 people sits north of M-59. This is on the heels of efforts by Auburn Hills to leave the regional transportation system and try to roll their own focused on the elderly and disabled.

My two cents: It seems like renewing the SMART millage in some suburbs this year is going to be a real fight. I know not everyone would agree with me (and this isn’t happening), but I’d rather see the paltry millage double and more services provided where people really want it.

IMHO, SMART is woefully underfunded for what it’s asked to do. If there’s something that annoys me about our region — it’s that we habitually underfund things and then wonder why it doesn’t work well.

» The Gordie Howe International Bridge is hitting another milestone. It already rises 460 feet over the city. The final form of the Y-shaped, modern towers will take shape this year as the final 262 feet are completed. Officials say it’ll be able to hold the weight of 165 jumbo jets. [GHIB Media]

» Employees at 11 Starbucks stores in Michigan are looking to unionize, including those at one store in Clinton Township and a few in Ann Arbor. This is part of a larger movement among service workers as younger adults views of unions — for a variety of reasons — are different than their older counterparts. Great Lakes Coffee is also going through a unionization battle. [Metro Times]

» Hatch Detroit has a new home. The formerly independent nonprofit will become a program of TechTown. According to press materials sent over to me — Since 2011 when the contest began, 49 Hatch alumni businesses have opened and credited the contest as a major accelerator in their launch. Hatch alumni collectively employ more than 500 people at businesses like Baobab Fare, Sister Pie, Live Cycle Delight, Batch Brewing, Meta Physica Wellness Center and LaFeria.

My two cents: Hatch and Vittoria Katanski, through their $50k annual contest and ongoing business support, has helped kickstart retail in Detroit. I’m going to keep an eye out as to what the contest looks like under TechTown stewardship. They say details are coming soon.

» Can we get our arms around the production costs of electric vehicles? Rivian made a big pricing snafu and Ford has split into two divisions; Blue and Model e. To help sort out this and more, experienced auto pundit and reviewer Eric Trytko joined me on the podcast. [Apple Podcasts] [Spotify]

» New online gaming revenue helped balance the City of Detroit’s municipal finances to pre-pandemic levels. The $1.2 billion general fund budget would include:

  • $67 million to restore cuts due to the pandemic
  • $16 million in wage increases
  • $90 million for pension protection
  • $86 million for debt
  • $10+ million for Parks and Recreation
  • $2.3 million for the Coleman A. Young International Airport
  • …plus increases to transit to ($72+ million) and elections ($14+ million)

The one page PDF overview with more on the city website is here: [City of Detroit]

» Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s State of the City address is tonight, delivered virtually. I’ll be following it online on Twitter (hashtag #SOTC313) and discussing it tomorrow with community developer and friend of the podcast Chase Cantrell. Stream starts at 6:40p and speech around 7p: [YouTube]

» I’ll admit, I’m an American Pickers fan. It’s on my list of shows I can accidentally binge watch. And if you’ve been by the podcast studio, I’m a sucker for offbeat vintage (the old Hudson’s lounge couch; the CSYC club pennant; the New Era chip container… the list goes on).

Anyway, they’re coming to Michigan in May and are looking for people with private collections who might be willing to sell something. If you want them to consider stopping by get in touch with them. [Facebook]

And if you have something Detroity that needs a new home in the podcast studio, get in touch. I’m a local news podcaster and email guy for a living so I’m not rich, but it’ll be well-loved. And if it’s has some sort of unique story, all the better.

Where to go…

» The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back this Sunday! It starts at 1pm near Sixth and Michigan Avenue in Corktown and runs down Michigan to 14th. Budget about two hours. Put on by the United Irish Societies (UIS), the drums, revelers and floats have been silent for two years due to the pandemic. Traditionally it’s one of the of the largest St. Patrick’s parades in the country and brings in as many as 100,000 people. [Website]

» Movement is back. The long-running electronic music festival has a big lineup of more than 110 acts from May 28-30, 2022. Included is a variety of sounds including Carl Craig, 2 Chainz, Skrillex, DJ Godfather, Peter Croce, The Godmother of House Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale, Claude VonStroke, Amp Fiddler and others. [Movement Festival]

I’m more of a Househead myself (as you can probably see by the recommendations above), but since the world has been so quiet I might get back into the mix during the day. I used to work it every year and even reported from it. If you all are interested, I’d be up for some interviews and such of locally connected artists.

» Westland has a new place called “Legendary Axe” that has their grand opening this weekend. Located at Cherry Hill and Newburgh roads, the cocktail menu includes a smoked old fashioned; a blueberry gimlet; and lychee lemonade. On the food side, it’s flatbreads, sliders and “Lumberjack tots.” [The Legendary Axe]

» The official grand opening of Ferndale Project is Saturday. Yes, the brewery, food and coffee place has been open in various ways throughout the pandemic — but there really hasn’t been time to celebrate, says the owner (who’s been a guest of the show before). If you couldn’t guess, it’s in Ferndale. 567 Livernois. [Facebook]

⚜️ Le Rouge Report

Spring is upon us and so is the 2022 Detroit City FC USL Championship season. It’s an exciting year because we really don’t know what’s going to happen with the move up from NISA.

» There’s been some key additions to the club, and soccer journalist Fletcher Sharpe has the details on those as well as a preview of the San Antonio FC road opener this Saturday. [Apple Podcasts] [Spotify]

» DCFC signed a dynamic and explosive forward in Francis Atuahene. He was the trialist who scored both goals against Phoenix Rising FC in their 2-2 friendly draw. [Fletcher Sharpe]

» If you want to see the team on your TV, there are a couple ways:

  • Just announced today, a partnership for 20+ games both at home on the road on WMYD-TV20 [Detroit City FC]
  • Also you can pick up a subscription with ESPN+ and not miss a game. I’m getting that just in case.

Thanks for reading today’s newsletter! If you can and want to support what we’re doing, consider buying us a coffee. -Jer

- 🌻🇺🇦 -

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