The Architect’s Newspaper has confirmed from several sources that urban planner Toni Griffin, whose position to help chart Detroit’s future, was announced with great fanfare last year, is not currently with the Detroit Works Project. An initiative of Mayor Bing’s office, Detroit Works is crafting a so-called “right-sizing” plan for the city, including demolitions and relocations, supported by the Kresge Foundation. In a phone call this morning, senior program director at Kresge, Laura J. Trudeau, responded to rumors that Griffin had left by confirming a hiatus and explaining that she may return.
Griffin herself declined a request for an interview this morning saying that she was leaving for a vacation today. Yesterday, Trudeau spoke to Crain’s, explaining that Griffin’s one-year contract had expired but that it may still be renegotiated. Griffin was paid a salary of $150,000 for her involvement in the first year of the Detroit Works Project. So far, Crain’s reported, Kresge has spent $1.5 Million on the initiative; it launched publicly last September.
"There are aspects of it we’re happy with, and aspects of it that we’re not. I’m not going to comment on it at this point,” Trudeau told Crain’s. “We’re in discussion with the city all the time about how the project is working, and we think that’s a conversation with the folks who are the most involved before we would have it in the press."
Trudeau also declined to comment on how long Griffin has been on hiatus but a few Detroit locals involved think it has been several weeks. Rumors continue to circulate that she is out of the project completely, although no formal announcement has appeared. Mayor Bing’s office is not responding to media requests on the topic.