DETROIT (WXYZ) - It's a question people around the world are asking: Exactly what has bankruptcy done to the city of Detroit?
The world has developed its own perceptions of a city in chaos, residents say that view may not match the city's enthusiasm to thrive.
The Motown sound rings out in minor keys these days. Even those who sing the city’s praises admit they often face a tough crowd.
“I mean, they’re saying, ‘Why are you still working down here? Why are you even in Detroit?’” said Taleasha Belcher, who was born in Detroit.
“Everyone thinks of Detroit, and they think this place is not nice.” said Jeff Warbuton, who recently moved to the downtown area.
“It’s not as bad as it sounds to the point that you can’t walk outside or you have to try and dodge a bullet." said Steffanie Nichols, enjoying a day with family at Belle Isle, "We’re still dealing with those myths.”
“We get a lot of bad rep," said Addullah Zubair, "But it’s a really, really down to Earth city, you know?”
And it doesn’t get any more down to Earth than thousands coming together for baseball. Just ask Zubair, whose nephews are attending their first Tigers game at Comerica Park.
“Bankruptcy, no bankruptcy, things go on over here.” said Eric Sewell, a longtime downtown resident spending time outside the ballpark.
So when life’s a beach, Detroiters can let loose at Campus Martius during its beach parties, where bunker sand covers much of the traffic island during the summer. With live reggae music playing, it's a tropical spot to relax and show off a few dance moves.
Stroll through Detroit's Eastern Market and let Albert Rice help you pick out the perfect melon.
“Watermelon’s here!" yells Rice to the weekend crowd, "They’re sweet now, you can taste ‘em and try ‘em over here!”
The 18-year vendor says business on a sunny day can be as sweet as the produce.
“A lot of people think we’re just getting a bad reputation around the world," said Rice, "But it’s not that bad.”
On the topic of business, the often packed house at Lafayette Coney Island is a late night favorite for scores of young professionals hoping to revive the city.
“We decided to move down here," said Sam Shabrang, who lives and works in Detroit, "I just moved down here, I moved downtown. I love it. I love being around the people, the people are the best.”
“I hear all the time, from people who come in from elsewhere, how pleasantly surprised they are.” said longtime resident Chris Jaszczak.
Pleasant surprises may not be enough to remedy a city riddled with problems. But the passion to change is evident.
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather live.” said Jaszczak.
“The heart of Detroit is still here.” said Belcher.
“I mean, for the people that stayed here, we are resilient.” said Sewell.
“It’s going to be a long road back, but we can make it.” said Zubair.
“We’re gonna be better than ever.” said resident Robert Waynick.
“I mean, the city is going through a lot right now, but I’m not giving up on it.” said Nichols.
Hopefully, the world won’t give up on Detroit either.
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