Chrysler has decided to relocate its headquarters from a troubled inner-city neighborhood to a sprawling suburban Detroit complex by 1995. Chairman Lee Iacocca says putting executives adjacent to the company's new $1 billion technical center in Auburn Hills will make Chrysler more efficient. But the move devastates Highland Park, a 2.9-square-mile incorporated city located within Detroit. The company's 5,000 jobs are the core of Highland Park's economy, and its tax payments account for half the city's $16 million annual budget.
To ease the blow, Chrysler will pay Highland Park $14 million over eight years. But that will only slow the city's skid. Over the past decade, median household income slipped 25%, to $9,805, and unemployment stands at 31%, four times the state average.