Fiat-Chrysler's proposal to mitigate air pollution at its coming Detroit factory may be insufficient for state environmental regulators — but at least the residents and school children nearby will have something pretty to look at.
Yes, just in time for Valentine's Day, city officials say they and FCA will be showing "the city some love" by moving forward on plans for a very large mural to surround part of the factory.
In all, 1,500 feet of stark white walls that currently give off a fortress vibe will be painted. One wall runs along Beniteau Street across from Southeastern High School. The other is at Beniteau Street and Kercheval Avenue.
A global open call for artists goes out Friday, with a winner or set of winners to be selected by early June. Murals to represent "both the rich history and bright future of Detroit’s east side neighborhoods" are to be complete by November. Residents and students will get to help shape the design.
The project is part of a $35-million community benefits agreement between Fiat-Chrysler and the city, struck in exchange for what could be more than $400 million in state and local incentives for the new factory.
The conversion of two plants into the new Jeep facility is expected to cost $1.6 billion and bring up to 5,000 jobs to the area — an unknown number of which will be filled by laid off auto workers from elsewhere. Detroiters get first crack at the jobs thereafter.
This is what things look like around the development now. You'll notice a new stormwater "park" across one of the walls.