This Week on One Detroit:

Mayor Mike Duggan discusses Detroit’s transformation, preparedness ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is coming to Detroit, and the countdown has begun. The three-day event will be held between April 25-27 in various locations downtown, including Campus Martius, Hart Plaza, Cadillac Square and Monroe Street Midway. The event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors and bring in millions in revenue. 

Detroit looks a lot different today than it did in 2006 when the city hosted Super Bowl XL. To prepare for the Super Bowl, fake storefronts were created in Detroit to camouflage empty buildings. 

“The last time the city of Detroit was introduced to the national audience was in 2013 when we declared bankruptcy, and that is a lot of people’s last impression of us. And this is a chance to reintroduce our city to America,” Detroit City Mayor Mike Duggan said. “It’s a whole different city now.”   

One Detroit contributor Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit News, sat down with Duggan at the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum to discuss what to expect during the 2024 NFL Draft, the changes the city has gone through since the 2006 Super Bowl and future developments. Finley also asks Mayor Duggan to discuss the entrepreneurial climate in the city and his future political plans. 

2024 NFL Draft puts spotlight on Detroit, attracts regional tourism

About 300,000 people are expected to visit Detroit for the 2024 NFL Draft. The three-day event will be held April 25-27 in various locations downtown, including Campus Martius, Hart Plaza, Cadillac Square and Monroe Street Midway. In addition to the main NFL Draft Experience areas, there will be satellite locations for residents and visitors to experience the draft day excitement in Grand Circus Park, Harmony Park, Capitol Park, and Beacon Park. 

Beyond the draft, the city will be encouraging visitors to experience what it has to offer, including restaurants, world-class museums and award-winning parks. The 2024 NFL Draft lands in Detroit during a time when the city has also been recognized by USA Today for having the nation’s best riverwalk in the Detroit Riverwalk and the best art museum in the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

One Detroit contributor Stephen Henderson, host of “American Black Journal,” sat down with Visit Detroit President and CEO Claude Molinari and Faye Nelson from the Detroit Sports Organizing Corp. at the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum to talk about the preparations being made to get the city ready for this major sporting event. 

They talk about the transformation of downtown, including the development of the riverfront over the last two decades. Molinari and Nelson have both played vital roles in attracting tourism to Detroit, developing the riverfront and securing major sporting events like the NFL Draft. They also discussed the Living Legacy Initiative, a program that was launched in coordination with the draft that is focused on literacy for students and encouraging active play.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum working to preserve Detroit’s automotive history with new funding

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, located in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, is an integral part of the Motor City’s legacy. Built in 1904 by Henry Ford, the plant was the birthplace of the Model T. “It was really the Silicon Valley of its day,” Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum President and COO Jill Woodward said. 

Visitors to the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant Museum can see over 65 rare vehicles including a collection of Ford’s letter cars that preceded the Model T plus a rebuilt version of the secret experimental room where Ford made the very first one.  

This year, the plant — now a U.S. National Historic Landmark and nonprofit museum — turned 120 years old. Recently, the plant was awarded a $500,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities to support infrastructure improvements and increase accessibility to its visitors.  

The volunteer group behind the nonprofit that turned the plant into a public museum has also taken on a $10 million capital campaign for renovations and preservation of the historic structure for the future. One Detroit’s Chris Jordan took a tour of the museum with Woodward to learn about the iconic collection of Detroit automotive history that sits within its walls.  

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