Down but Undeterred, Detroit Welcomes America’s Biggest Military Vehicle Event

Mike O'Brien

Despite its considerable woes, Detroit lives on through its fighting spirit.

The city is wrestling with a $19 billion debt and is set to become the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy.

After decades of decline, the Motor City’s dire financial condition is particularly worrying for the capital markets that all state and local government rely on to raise cash for everything from road improvements and school roofs to libraries and parks.

The city’s 9,500 employees and nearly 20,000 retirees also believe they have much to lose. Under the plan announced by emergency manager Kevyn D. Orr, a former D.C. bankruptcy lawyer, retirees will have to absorb considerable reductions in pension and health benefits.

The city’s massive debt is matched only by a terrivle loss of revenue and residents — a long-term problem that has escalated in recent years.

The city’s population has plummeted by 26 percent since 2000, while the unemployment rate has jumped from 7.3 percent to 18.6 percent, the Washington Post reports.

But despite all the negative news, the city survives. From July 31 to August 1, the Cobo Convention Center will host IDGA’s Military Vehicles Exhibition & Conference.

The event is in its fifth year, but despite its popularity, some of the city’s hotels are offering discounts to those considering attending the exhibition.

For example, on behalf of IDGA, The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit and the Marriott (Renaissance Center) are both offering special rates.

In his Welcome Letter for the event, Detroit Mayor acknowledged that the local economy was facing a "challenging, economical time."

But he also urged visitors to make the most of their time in the city. He said: "While in Detroit, please take the time to experience and enjoy the unique attractions our city offers. You will be pleased by our city’s outstanding facilities and our friendly and courteous service.

"Detroit is home to the historic Fox Theatre, the largest museum of African American history, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Motown Historical Museum, and numerous other cultural attractions.

"Our downtown includes two state-of the-art sporting venues, Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers and Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. Our city also features three Las Vegas style casinos and lots of exciting nightlife in historic Greektown.

"Our International River Walk will provide you with the kind of recreation and beauty known to very few American cities - and an international view of one of America's most beautiful and busiest waterways."

Full details of IDGA’s Military Vehicles Exhibition & Conference are available at