Detroit’s Grand Circus Park is Lively Again

In Sunday’s New York Times Travel section, I write about Detroit’s Grand Circus Park. You can see some wonderful photos by Detroit-based photographer Fabrizio Costantini here.

Grand Circus Park is a good example of the revival that’s taking place in downtown Detroit, and stories we are telling at Changing Gears.

It has taken a few years for the area to come back to life, and there are still some empty storefronts, vacant lots and office buildings. But if you visit Detroit on a weekend when the Lions are playing at Ford Field, or on a night when the Red Wings have a game at Joe Louis Arena, the district around Grand Circus Park bubbles with activity. Continue reading “Detroit’s Grand Circus Park is Lively Again”

Chrysler, GM to invest millions in Michigan, Illinois plants

Chrysler Corp. and General Motors both said Thursday they were spending a combined almost $800 million to invest in new small car production in Belvidere, Illinois and Lansing, Michigan.

Chrysler said it would spend $600 million at the Belvidere plant, retaining the 2400 jobs that are there and at a nearby stamping facility. Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting that the company is “expected to build a new generation of Fiat-based vehicles”. Work on the plant expansion, which began this summer, is expected to end 2011.

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Time Marches on in Kenosha

Chrysler Main GateKenosha, Wisconsin has been a car town for the past one hundred years. Somehow, despite all the upheaval in the auto industry, its factories have kept working. But that finally comes to an end this week, when the Chrysler Engine plant closes, leaving more than 500 people jobless.

Kenosha has worked hard to change its image, and Changing Gears reporter Niala Boodhoo will be following that reinvention story over the coming months. To begin, she looks at the final days of the factory.

Download the audio here

Continue reading “Time Marches on in Kenosha”

Retraining: From Chrysler To The Classroom

Joseph Arducan at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Photo by Kate Davidson.

Joseph Arducan is one of the oldest kids in his class.  At 43, he’s a senior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  The veteran auto worker is one of the region’s many displaced workers who’ve decided to go back to school.  Ann Arbor reporter Kate Davidson is following Arducan on his new road from Chrysler to the classroom, and beyond.[display_podcast] Continue reading “Retraining: From Chrysler To The Classroom”

Pop Ups Bring Surprises to Cities’ Vacant Spaces

Leap Night
For more photos of Leap Night and other Pop Up City events, visit their Facebook page.

All across our region–and the country–cities are pockmarked with empty buildings and vacant lots. Some see this as a sign of blight and economic collapse. But others spot opportunity. Rather than wait for big, long-range answers, they are taking these spaces into their own hands and coming up with temporary ideas that could pay off down the road.

Continue reading “Pop Ups Bring Surprises to Cities’ Vacant Spaces”

Reinvention Recipes: Fritz Pastry’s Macarons

At Changing Gears, we want our Great Lakes region to be known as much for its food as the South, the New England States or the Pacific Northwest. To make that happen, we’ve asked chefs and food purveyors from across the region to give us their Reinvention Recipes — fresh twists on classics dishes. This week, Michael Nagrant visits with Nate Meads of Fritz Pastry and Adam Seger of Hum Spirits in Chicago. Continue reading “Reinvention Recipes: Fritz Pastry’s Macarons”

Ohio, Indiana Communities Get Cleanup Money

Two communities in the Changing Gears region — Cleveland and Goshen, Ind. — are getting money from the Environmental Protection Agency. Each will receive grants to clean up brownfield sites, a subject that Changing Gears reporter Niala Boodhoo in Chicago explored in September.

The funding is part of the EPA’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities program. In all, the EPA is handing out $4 million to 23 communities nationwide for brown field clean up. Each community will receive up to $175,000.

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Chevrolet Volt: Electric, Hybrid, Something Else?

More than 3,200 of you voted. And the results of the first Changing Gears-Jalopnik-TrueCar poll are in.
You say Volt is a hybrid-electric car.
How you voted:
67.3% Hybrid-electric
25.6% Whatever GM says it is
6.9% Electric vehicle

The Chevrolet Volt is finally on the verge of reaching showrooms, just in time for a lively debate about what it actually is. We want you to settle it.

Changing Gears is joining and in asking for your views.

Continue reading “Chevrolet Volt: Electric, Hybrid, Something Else?”

Northwestern Prof Shares Nobel Prize for Jobless Research

A Northwestern University professor of economics, Dale Mortensen, is among a trio who won the Nobel Prize in Economics Monday morning, for research on disparities in a marketplace – namely, why jobs remain unfilled even when unemployment is high.

According to his bio, Mortensen focuses on labor economics at Northwestern, where he has been teaching since 1965. He won the $1.5 million prize along with Federal Reserve Board nominee Peter Diamond of MIT and Christopher Pissarides of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Continue reading “Northwestern Prof Shares Nobel Prize for Jobless Research”