Detroit – A new coalition of labor, environmental, business, faith and community groups launched today during a forum focused on how regional public and private investments can be leveraged to positively impact communities.
“Everyone can be a winner when it comes to development,” said Venus Chapman, Facilitator Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4). “We believe there is no necessary conflict between economic growth, good jobs and healthy and sustainable communities. When we all work together, we all win, and that’s why D4 is here today.”
An essential economic development tool for D4 is the “community benefits agreement:” a legally binding contract that spells out the commitments a developer makes to mitigate the burden of a project on its host community. These agreements help foster support for proposed projects and facilitate speedier, less expensive completion.
“The community benefits agreement (CBA) movement will empower communities through research and policy development centered on job creation, and encourages them to take more active roles in local development projects. Through this unified approach, the CBA will promote effective strategies to help create a strong pipeline of good jobs, stimulate the local economy, and promote environmental health. These represent three main components of Detroit LISC’s Building Sustainable Communities Initiative, a comprehensive approach to building communities from the ground up.” said Tahirih Ziegler, Executive Director of Detroit LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), who spoke at the forum.
Until very recently, no initiative in Detroit successfully engaged area unions, community groups and other stakeholders on the issue of new approaches to development. With the possibility of big projects headed to Detroit, the coalition is welcomed by community-based organizations.
“Instead of reinventing the wheel every time a new project is proposed, we can now speak as one united voice for fair, equitable development,” said Scott Brines, President of Southwest Community Benefits Coalition, a group working to implement community benefits as part of a proposed bridge to Canada. “Community benefits should be the new standard for doing development in Detroit, and across the state. Everybody wins – that’s something we all agree on.”
Source: Doing Development Differently in Detroit (D4)