Detroit's City Hall is facing plenty of bankruptcy drama, but it’s also still facing run-of-the-mill citizens' complaints.
Officials say the bankruptcy is not affecting city services, but they also admit Detroit is a big, aging city with plenty of problems to solve.
Case in point: Ruth to the Rescue profiled the story of the sinkhole behind George's Famous Coney Island on Michigan Avenue on Aug. 2. The consumer unit first contacted City Hall about the problem on July 17th, but residents were still waiting for repairs. The restaurant's owner told Ruth to the Rescue how one car had already been stuck in the sinkhole.
"I hear customers complain all the time. We don't want to come in the parking lot or come through here because we're afraid we might wreck our car," said Beverly Wallace, the owner of George's Famous Coney Island on Michigan Avenue.
Wallace was not happy that it was taking so long to get the sinkhole repaired, and added, "I don't think anybody's running the city, cause if somebody was running the city, this would have been fixed already!"
Local 4 Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer paid a visit to City Hall on Friday, August 2nd to remind officials there of the sinkhole situation and a problem with a broken light pole on Curtis Street. While the problems may seem small in scope compared to the bankruptcy, residents argue city services should continue.
"People are still working downtown. The lighting department is still working. Everyone is still working even though we're in bankruptcy, so this still should be fixed," said Joy Holliday who lives on the corner where a light pole was knocked down during a car accident 10 months ago.
Progress Reported, Sinkhole Repaired
For the owners of the Coney Island, there was a very welcome sight on Monday, August 5th. A city crew came to repair the sinkhole and prevent further danger to cars or people. The owner's niece says she's sure customers will be relieved, and that will be better for business.
"We called them every week, after week and nobody wanted to do anything. Nobody wanted to help us, and you guys are the ones that finally made it happen... to get fixed," said Tabitha Palmer, thanking Ruth to the Rescue.
Unfortunately, the light pole near Joy Holliday's home is not a top priority for City Hall.
In June, Holliday and her husband showed Ruth to the Rescue the broken light pole outside their home. A replacement pole had been sitting on her lawn for 8 months, but the repairs were never finished.
"This is a dangerous corner without any light. It's pitch black here," said Holliday.
Holliday was stunned when the city removed the replacement pole, instead of using it to actually fix the problem. Six weeks later, there is still no light pole on the corner.
"What is the city doing? Or obviously, what are they not doing?" Holliday told Ruth to the Rescue when we went back to her home on August 1st.
A former City Ha;; spokesman could not give a repair date for the light pole, saying it is not a priority based on the other "real emergencies in the city."
That answer cannot give much comfort to Joy Holliday. "Please get this fixed. We need this fixed for our safety, our children's safety, and the safety of this particular street," she begged city officials.
For better or worse, it seems bankruptcy has not changed city services in Detroit. City Hall says workers are responding to repair issues as quickly as possible, but given the size of the city those repairs may take a while, unless it's a imminently dangerous situation.
At least, there's one less sinkhole in the Motor City now!