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9-7-09 Vacation 2009 in Mid-West Depressed Economies and Detroit

Life has it cycles in most things. However, it is difficult to believe that much of Detroit will experience a booming rejuvenation in the foreseeable future. We are living in a global economy now and Detroit has a lot of competition in the automotive industry.

AVOC

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September 5, 2009

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Vacation 2009 in Mid-West – Depressed Economies and Detroit

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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In July 2009, we were very well aware of the economic recession gripping much of the country.We saw evidence of it in many of the cities of the Mid-West.   We traveled parts of six states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.  

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Auto manufacturing was big in this area at one time.   We saw the World Headquarters for Ford in Dearborn, MI and a large Daimler-Chrysler building in Windsor, Ontario.   We took pictures of vacant buildings and saw a camper business closed in the vicinity of Elkhart, IN.   

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Daimler-Chrysler Building –Windsor, Ontario, Canada 09

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World Headquarters for Ford in Dearborn, MI

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Camper R.V. business closed

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We enjoyed a visit to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.  The history of the automobile from all over the world was interesting especially persons involved in the early years of the auto industry was very informative.   I could remember when the President of General Motors, Charles Wilson, was named Secretary of Defense in the Dwight Eisenhower Administration.   He was famous for saying “what is good for General Motors is good for the United States”.   His picture and history are part of an exhibit.

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Automotive Hall of Fame, Dearborn, MI

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However, it is evident that the Michigan Auto Industry of the past is not the industry of today.  We noted that many commercial buildings were vacant in most of the large cities.   Detroit was the worst with many abandoned residences.    We had no problem finding rooms, eating in restaurants etc.   Signs of the Recession were obvious all over.

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Commercial space available in East Lansing, MI

Frequent sight in Mid-West 7-09

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A Wisconsin boarded commercial building

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Boarded up Commercial Building in Detroit

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Vacant Commercial Building in Michigan

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Boarded up Library in Detroit

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Riding around Detroit, MI, gives a graphic portrait of changing times and the decline of the automobile industry there.   Over the years, I had heard descriptions of Detroit’s (and the State of Michigan) economic challenges.   In the 80’s, I worked with a local client who had a relative die in Detroit.   The relative owned a home and we felt there should be some value.However, the Detroit lawyer said the home was in a declining area and would not bring $ 25,000.00 if a buyer could be found.  

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Boarded House in Detroit

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Vacant Un-kept house in Detroit

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Vacant Un-kept houses in Detroit

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Riding the residential areas of Detroit indicates to me that the housing market is very depressed.   Folks who still live in their houses maintain them and they look nice.   However, it appears when a person dies or moves for whatever reason, the house is often abandoned.

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Housing Contrasts in Detroit – Maintained and Boarded Up

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Un-kept house beside a maintained house

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Residential street in Detroit

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Abandoned houses in Detroit

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Life has it cycles in most things.   However, it is difficult to believe that much of Detroit will experience a booming rejuvenation in the foreseeable future.   We are living in a global economy now and Detroit has a lot of competition in the automotive industry.

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Even farming is changing.   Apparently, large corporate conglomerates now dominate the farming, especially the dairy industry.   We drove across central Wisconsin and I saw very few dairy cows.   Wisconsin ranks number one in # of milk cows (1,400,000) and produces over 15% of the entire country's milk.   Maybe they are off the interstates and confined in lots or barns.   We saw many barns but few cows on I-94, the route through Eau Claire, Madison and Milwaukee.

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Wisconsin Soy Bean Farm – No Cows in sight

Roll of hay was cut on road ROW

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Wisconsin Farm – No Cows in sight


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