. . . it must be Halloween. At least, that’s what you would gather from walking around Columbus and seeing all the elaborate Halloween decorations that are already up, even though it is only October 2 and Halloween is officially 29 long days away.
I continue to object to the way that holidays have expanded, expanded, and expanded, until entire months are devoted to them. I wonder if it kind of ruins Beggars’ Night for kids. Rather than seeing the scary stuff go up a day or two before you don your costume and begin your quest for candy, letting you know that a lot of fun is just around the corner, you’ve got a full month for the decorations to become tattered and shabby and old hat. By the time Beggars’ Night rolls around, is it anticlimactic?
Now Detroit has finally begun process of demolishing the Packard buildings, as part of an effort to rid the city of what the linked article aptly describes as “ruin porn”–the many abandoned, deteriorating buildings in the area that show how a once-mighty city was brought to its knees. But as with anything in Detroit, it has been a difficult process. A Peruvian developer bought the 3.5 million square foot site for $405,000 in 2013 but didn’t live up to promises to develop it; more recently, he’s ignored court orders to demolish the buildings due to obvious safety concerns. As a result, the city has begun the demolition itself and plans to present the bill for the work to the developer.
Detroit’s mayor says that at least part of the Packard site will be used for future development. But even if development doesn’t happen for years, demolishing the Packard buildings is a big step in the right direction for Detroit, in my view. If, like me, you think there is merit to the “broken windows” theory, which posits that seeing unrepaired broken windows sends a strong message of lawlessness and societal decay, the Packard plants have been broken windows writ large for too long, sending a dispiriting message to the people of the Motor City. I think removing this old eyesore will help Detroit to move forward.