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Detroit's makeover spending questioned

UPI News Service, 09/26/2005 

Detroit officials are defending a $20 million downtown beautification program as the city lays off police officers and firefighters.

Municipal officials told the Detroit News the money for streetlamps and other aesthetic improvements was allocated years ago, before the current budget crisis prompted the layoffs.

The most immediate goal is to get Motown looking good before it hosts the Super Bowl in February. Architect Doug McIntosh defends the investment as key to jump-starting long-term development. He said infrastructure and streetscape "are critical pieces of the pie" that facilitate investment.

Among the most visible changes are new versions of Detroit's original 1930s streetlamps at $4,000 apiece.

However, some of the streetlamps aren't lighting up. City officials blame ancient wiring that hasn't been upgraded for nearly a century.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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