Jobs for Detroit and public advisory committee promised by Ilitch organization for new arena complex

WXYZ-TV (DETROIT) - Richard Etue has seen a lot of change in the 20 years he's lived in and around the Cass Corridor.  Most of it has been negative, much of it--from neglect.

"That used to be the Harbor Lights," Etue said of the former Salvation Army building as he walked along Henry Street with a reporter.  The abandoned and vandalized Hotel Eddyston is close by.  Empty hulks now. "Have been for years," Etue said.

The neglect and deterioration of the remaining buildings created additional problems for a neighborhood already in decline.

"You end up with homeless people, you end up with junkies, you end up with prostitutes and they take over the neighborhood," said Etue.

It took years for the Ilitch organization to assemble the property and strike a deal for a new hockey arena for the Red Wings.

Some residents have been forced out. Others will likely be priced out as the 650 million dollar public-private development moves forward.

"Some of them would like to see what's coming and be a part of it," said Etue.  "They don't want to be told you're not invited to the party, you're not invited to be part of this."

Etue attended a city council public hearing Wednesday where residents and others had an opportunity to make their voices heard on the development plans.  Etue lives across from Cass Park and he was looking for assurances the city and developers would maintain the park for the use of residents and others.

Harry's Detroit Bar is located within the footprint of the planned entertainment district. Owner Harry Kefalonitis told Action News construction can't start soon enough.

"There will be people walking around, employees that work at these businesses and at the arena itself," Kefalonitis said.  Construction workers, sports patrons. It's an amazing turnaround for what this area is now."

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