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For Immediate Release: 12/19/2003
For More Information Contact:
Karen Kavanaugh, (313) 842-0986 x26
Kathryn Savoie, (313) 216-2225

Will Santa Weigh in on SW Detroit Development Struggle?
Big Guy from the North May Make Rare Pre-Christmas Appearance at Press Event
Detroit, 12/19/2003 – Community and business organizations in southwest Detroit may be joined at the site of a proposed “truck gate” by one of the world’s great philanthropists.  Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA), Communities for a Better Rail Alternative (CBRA) and other community members will hold a press event at the intersection of Dix, W. Vernor and Waterman, Tuesday, December 23, at 10:00 AM.  Santa Claus, with his fabled sack of gifts, may make a cameo appearance at the event. 
The site of the press conference is the intersection of three heavily used streets and is an essential part of the area’s retail development plans.  But neither travel nor development can happen if the CSX rail road company and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) have their way and carve a huge truck access gate into the community. 
“We’re not sure what Santa’s plans are,” said Maria Elena Rodriguez of Mexican Town Development Corporation.  “But we were pleased when his people contacted us and said he had a special delivery for our area.  We decided to take a chance and hold this event.”
Folks in southwest Detroit feel confident that Claus will support their struggle to convince CSX Railroad and MDOT not to drive a railroad spike into the heart of their community. MDOT is funding this latest project.  The area is already struggling with other plans by MDOT for the proposed Detroit Intermodal Freight Terminal (DIFT).   That project would expand the current rail yard to almost 900 acres, or about two-times the size of the Poletown plant.
“First MDOT hits us with the possible expansion of the rail yard that would take out 70 businesses and 80 homes,” said Kathryn Savoie of CBRA. “Now, they want to make it almost impossible to use one of the heaviest trafficked parts of our community. I sure hope Santa comes down on our side.”
Claus spokes-elf, I.C. Snows confirmed the “strong possibility” of a rare pre-holiday visit by the red-clad, rotund, reindeer driver.  At first, Snows refused to say which way his boss was leaning in the struggle.  “I can only say that he knows if you’ve been bad or good,” said Snows.  But, after intense follow-up questioning, Snows admitted that “the ho-ho-ho-ing came to an abrupt halt” when Claus was briefed on details of MDOT and CSX’s plans for the taxpayers of southwest Detroit.”
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