Business owners, citizens speak to council over concerns and hope for new hockey arena

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Some members of what's left of Detroit City Council got an earful Thursday from people weighing in on what is at stake for them when it comes to a new $650 million stadium for the Red Wings and Olympia Development, both owned by the Ilitch family.

About $280 million in property taxes will be used to help fund the development. Those tax dollars are coming by way of Detroit's Downtown Development Authority. The DDA is allowed to use that property tax money, which is collected from businesses in a specified downtown district and separate from the cash-strapped city's General Fund, to help finance development in that area.

On Thursday, members of the DDA and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) urged council to allow for the expansion of their boundaries so that the new arena and entertainment district would fall in their zone.

Some attending Thursday's public hearing applauded the Ilitch family for their continued investment in Detroit and its workforce.

But some business owners in the downtown district are opposed to any of the property taxes they pay being used to help finance the project, and suggested the new development would be isolated from other businesses, creating a "city in a city".

In November, council is expected to vote on whether to allow for the expansion of the DDA's district.



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