robocop arrives at robocop day

Detroit Celebrates Robocop Day, Statue To Honor Our Beloved Robotic Police Officer

Today I went downtown Detroit for “Robocop Day”, an event I had only heard of a few days earlier. I had read about the event and the limited, vague itinerary on mlive.

Original Robocop Day Itinerary:

Noon – ROBOCOP and Detroit Police Department arrivals

    • 12:10 p.m. – ROBOCOP presentation and statue announcement
    • 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Fan photo opportunities with ROBOCOP
    • 1 p.m. – ROBOCOP and Detroit Police Department departure to protect the City of Detroit
  • 7 p.m. – ROBOCOP throws out the first pitch at Comerica Park

I met a buddy and his co-worker at 1301 3rd St in Detroit, the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters building, which is where the itinerary said the event was happening. Upon arrival at noon, we were told that the event had been moved to Campus Martius Square. Hmm, last minute, but alright.

By the time we drove there, found a parking spot and got to the park around 12:15, there was still no Robocop. In fact, we didn’t see any signs of anything related to Robocop. We walked into one of the buildings, and my friend asks the security guard behind the counter at the information desk, “Where’s Robocop”? He looked puzzled, and after a few moments began stuttering, “Um, uh, I uh, don’t know what you’re talking about”.

After wandering around in the square for a few moments, we stumbled on some people in black shirts that said “Robocop”, handing out cupcakes. “Robocop will be here soon”, one of the said. “Here’s some free cupcakes”.

small woman dressed in robocop costume at robocop day in detroit 2014

Fans waiting for the arrival of Robocop

At this point we didn’t really know what to expect. This event seemed so poorly planned, we wondered if the city of Detroit had planned it! However, it was really just a promotion for the DVD release of the latest Robocop movie. One can only assume the movie studios organized the event to generate some buzz in the media.

Robocop finally arrived at about 12:50. Damn traffic. He arrived in a Lincoln Navigator with blacked out windows. There was a crowd of a couple hundred people or so now. There wasn’t really much said by the event organizers, just that you could get your picture taken with Robocop and that they would be going to the Fillmore next. That wasn’t on the itinerary at all, but we couldn’t stay any longer at this point as we had only planned on being here from 12-1 as the itinerary had originally stated.

There is, however, an actual 10 foot bronze statue of Robocop that was supposed to part of this event. Who knows, maybe this was happening at the Fillmore. Supposedly, the location of the statue’s placement is still up in the air.The statue was privately funded though, as you may be wondering how the city of Detroit has money for this. I assure you, they don’t. And if it did belong to the city, they would have already scrapped him.

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detroit people mover rail system

Detroit’s People Mover Rail System Is A Ghost Twon

Like everything else in Detroit, the People Mover rail system is losing money. Even during the 2014 Detroit International Auto Show, the busiest time of the year for Detroit, hardly anyone rode it. The People Mover rail system covers only 2.9 miles, and only moves in one direction. It also has 13 stops along the way. It makes a loop around the perimeter of downtown Detroit, but doesn’t service the residential areas beyond.

Public transportation has never been very popular in Detroit, in defense of the People Mover. As you might expect from the Motor City, people here all own cars and drive wherever they need to go, even if it’s only a short distance away. That’s just the way it is here… cars are part of the culture of Detroit. I rode the People Mover last year when I went to the Orion Festival on Belle Isle, and we were the only ones on it. It was a very strange feeling, like being in an empty amusement park but with all of the rides still moving.

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belle isle detroit michigan

Belle Isle Becomes A State Park In 2014

I was surprised to learn that Belle Isle is becoming a state park as of January 1st, 2014. Governor Rick Snyder just approved a deal with Bobby Orr, the emergency manager, that leases Belle Isle to the State for 30 years. This move will save the city of Detroit $4-6 million annually, so it’s a pretty good move. Detroit will still technically own the Belle Isle, but the Department of Natural Resources will manage it. Starting next year, you will need the $11/yr recreation passport sticker on your license plate to enter Belle Isle State Park. Man, that sounds weird to say.

I visited Belle Isle for the first time in almost 15 years this summer when I attended the Orion Festival there. This was the first time I had heard of the island being used for a concert, too. The buildings on the island looked like they were crumbling away, only slightly less than the rest of the city. Now that the DNR is managing the island, state funds will be available. The DNR also will also seek $10-20 million in grants for repairs and renovations to the island’s infrastructure.

I’m glad to hear Belle Isle will finally receive the care it needs to bounce back. This deal seems like a good thing for both the city, the state, and the people. However, not everyone is happy about it. City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson had this to say:

It’s an absolute treasure, and Belle Isle is ours. It flies in the face of all the public pronouncements of the state trying to help the city. It sounds like a rape to me. It should never be touched. It’s a disgrace before God to have this outrageous seizing of an asset.

Now, when I read this I immediately realized why Detroit is in such bad financial shape. The city has people like this making decisions. Important decisions. I don’t think this woman understands what a lease is. The city still owns the island. They don’t have to pay to maintain it (which they couldn’t afford to do anyway), and everyone can still us it (with the recreation passport). So, where’s the drawback? Apparently, councilwoman Watson would rather see the island fall into further despair, eventually to the point that it’s unusable. Unusable like a huge percentage of Detroit already is, full of desolate urban prairies piled high with old tires. Sometimes you just gotta know when to let go, Detroit. It’s for the better.

Source: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131001/METRO01/310010072/Snyder-finalizes-Belle-Isle-deal-Detroit?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

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