It had been grand. Once there had been money. To hear my dad talk about the Saginaw he grew up in is to hear of a completely different Saginaw than the one I did. He tells me about the places he used to hang out, where he shot pool, where he and his sisters saw The Temptations & Johnny Cash, where the MC5 used to play. I can’t picture the buildings. “Where are these places?” I ask. He drives by and points to empty lots. For years the city’s solution to fight blight was to tear everything down. They said the property was worth more as a lot, but the lots sit there for years & years.
The money that flowed in this city once supported an art museum, a zoo, a cultural center, a public transportation system. Now, all of these things rely on private donors. The art museum, after undergoing an expansion just a few years ago, is now on the brink of bankruptcy and can’t afford to stay open. The police and firefighters are constantly facing cuts and lay-offs as crime and arson are on the rise. The fairground’s grand entrances stay locked. Are forgotten.