Detroit deli owner on bankruptcy: 'It's a disease or cure scenario'

A still image of Downtown Detroit in the evening.

Detroit has worn many titles. Motor City. Motown. Now it's adding another: the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr is promising city services will continue, but cutbacks have been coming for years. For example, two of every five streetlights are out in what was once America's fourth largest city.

The Chapter 9 filing means Detroit will have extra trouble borrowing deep into the future. The bankruptcy could jeapardize city assets and union contracts. People retired from government jobs are watching to see what happens with pensions. 

Residents and small businesses are still trying to sort out what the bankruptcy announcement means. One of them is Ben Hall, owner of the Russell Street Deli in Detroit's Eastern Market district.

"It's definitely a disease or cure scenario, and I'm not sure which one is which," Hall says. "We’ve been bailing water for a long time and sooner or later you have to make some other kind of decision."

Click on the audio player above to hear more reaction from Detroit residents.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio


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