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Sea of lights is a Super Bowl '06 vision


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Sea of lights is a Super Bowl '06 vision

Planners pitch Detroit as inviting after dark

February 9, 2004



Psst. Have you heard of Detroit's best-kept secret? There's a spectacular neighborhood just north of downtown.

You haven't seen it?

The throngs of news media attending last week's Super Bowl in Houston got a glimpse. Reporters visiting the National Football League's expansive media center found a booth where Detroit tourism leaders were promoting Super Bowl XL, set for Motown in 2006.

Marketing officials constructed a mock downtown loft -- two walls, tables, chairs, a couch and fireplace -- in the George R. Brown Convention Center. There also was a thrilling view of the Detroit skyline and two stadiums through a large picture window. The view was actually the backdrop of the booth.

If only it were real -- and reflective of the frenetic nightlife that Houston enjoyed during Super Bowl week.

"Of course we want to do the same thing, put our best foot forward and turn on all the lights we can," said Michelle Fusco, a spokeswoman for the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, which helped staff the Detroit booth.

They did indeed turn on the lights. The view from the booth in Houston showed a lively neighborhood with warm rays streaming from residential windows and smoke curling from chimneys into the crisp winter air.

In real life, at least 10 of those residential buildings are abandoned, with boards or nothing covering the windows. Many of the structures are slated for grand renovations that developers hope will transform the neighborhood by February 2006, when America's biggest sporting event comes to town.

Fusco conceded Friday that an artist retouched the photo on display in Houston, adding lights -- and, apparently, roofs -- to some derelict buildings.

She said it was all just a good marketing effort.

"It is a picture of the Detroit we hope to show in 2006," she said. "We're really pleased with the efforts that we put forth in Houston. . . . We think we put our best foot forward and established some goodwill with the people who will be coming here."

Contact JIM SCHAEFER at 313-223-4542 or [email protected]

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They are supposed to light up all the big buildings for the super bowl. SUPPOSED TO are the key words there. I'll believe it when I see it with my own two eyes. We all know how things in Detroit are. They always get cancelled or changed around. Nothing is a sure bet until the projects are completed.

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