In 1999, the state of Michigan lifted the residency requirement for City of Detroit employees; over the next ten years, many employees left the City.
Seeking creative solutions to revitalize Detroit, Mayor Dave Bing launched Project 14 in February of 2011. The program is designed to encourage police officers to move back into the City, strengthen relationships between public safety officials and the community, and ultimately reduce crime and revitalize Detroit’s neighborhoods.
In March 2011, Bank of America announced the donation of ten renovated properties for ten officers to kick-off the program.
The Mayor’s office worked very closely with Bank of America to select homes and neighborhoods to ensure the renovation for the Project’s pilot location where the first police officer, William Booker Riggs, would live with his family.
“What surprised me the most about Bank of America is their commitment to turning around these neighborhoods for Detroit,” said Karla Henderson, group executive of planning and facilities for Mayor Bing. “They stepped up and showed that through a foreclosure crisis and a recession, the Bank could be a good corporate partner and citizen in the City of Detroit.”
“Bank of America’s support of Project 14 has set up my future,” said Officer William Booker Riggs. “A house without a mortgage allows me to save, put money into my retirement and put money into my daughter’s education. They stuck to their word and are in my corner of trust.”
“The city now understands that Bank of America is here to do the right thing,” said Nina Rodriguez, vice president, senior operations consultant for the community revitalization national gifting program. “We’re not just bricks and mortar. We are involved in the City, their departments and the rehabilitation process.”
Project 14 is serving as a catalyst to encourage other corporations, organizations and individuals to live where they work. In fact, almost 200 officers have reached out and expressed interest in the program.
Henderson added, “Bank of America has made a number of contributions to the city’s cultural organizations, neighborhood associations, volunteer support as well as investments in development projects, mortgages and home loans. When Mayor Bing came into the administration, banks were not making these types of investments in the City of Detroit. We see the City and Bank of America to continue this great partnership.”
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