Detroit, This Just Might Be Your Day

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Spring is springing in Detroit, and the poster child for urban decay is beginning to sing a new song about hope, renewal and pride.

Consider what’s going on in the Motor City just today: The Detroit Tigers are playing their home opener of the 2013 season as the favorite to win the American League and the pick of many to win the World Series after last year’s flop against the San Francisco Giants. Demand is surging for Tigers licensed merchandise as fans at home and abroad sense this might just be the team’s year, with superstar pitcher Justin Verlander signed to a mammoth new contract.

The nearby University of Michigan takes on Syracuse this weekend in its first Final Four appearance in March Madness since the Fab Five team 20 years ago.[more]

A new TV ad for the Pure Michigan campaign has begun running on national cable-TV networks, coincidentally focusing on the Ann Arbor home of the Wolverines and reminding the rest of America what a great place Michigan—even Detroit—can be when it’s not winter.

Not far in the backdrop, NYC’s Broadway is getting ready for a dose of Detroit in its heyday as Berry Gordy Jr. prepares to officially open the now in previews, Chrysler-backed ode to Motor City’s musical roots, Motown the Musicalon April 14.

Such is the rising cachet of a city that is getting off its back that a new electric-car startup is daring to name the company after it. Detroit Electric is being launched by a group led by a former executive of the U.K. sports-car maker Lotus, proffering a two-seat sports car priced at $135,000 and running only on electricity.

Founder Derek Lam said that his car is “the fastest pure electric production vehicle on the planet at the moment” and that Detroit Electric has “learned from others’ mistakes” in the still-fledgling luxury-EV market, where Tesla seems to be gaining traction but Fisker has met with hard times.

To be sure, Detroit has far to go to live up to the new positivism and to reclaim its once-secure place as one of America’s greatest cities. Right now it has only begun what promises to be a painful restructuring process under a new emergency manager imposed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

But at least these days there’s more of a fighting spirit to Detroiters, perhaps because there’s a sense that there’s more to fight for. Local newspaper The Metropolitan found that out this week after officials at Detroit Metro Airport pulled the free newspaper from terminals over a headline that appeared to slam the city. “Detroit, the Most Miserable City in America” was meant as an ironic slam against a recent Forbes article that seriously made the claim, the newspaper explained, according to Detroit.CBSlocal.com

“This [headline] just landed flat,” airport spokesman Mike Conway said. “I have the prerogative of allowing this publication in the airport or not allowing it. And when I see something that says Detroit is a miserable city, and we’re spreading that message around the world, my view is—whether it’s too sensitive or not—we don’t need to allow this.”

That’s right, Detroiters aren’t above censorship to protect the city they love, sensing a real renaissance is possible. World—it’s your move.

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