DETROIT – Removing blighted residential properties and small commercial structures that have plagued Detroit neighborhoods for decades would cost $850 million, with perhaps $1 billion more needed to tackle the bankrupt city’s larger commercial and industrial property, a task force said Tuesday.
Nearly one in three structures need some form of intervention, including demolition or rehabilitation, the task force said. Overall, it found nearly 85,000 blighted parcels, of which 73,000 are residential structures.
The study is part of efforts announced last year by President Barack Obama’s administration to help Detroit, which cited $18 billion in long-term debt when it filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The report was drawn up to help determine which houses and buildings can be saved and which will be torn down.
Blight has gone on for years without a real strategy and has gotten worse as a result, said Mayor Mike Duggan, who added that a longstanding lack of action on the abandoned buildings and vacant lots is a big reason for resentment that residents have harbored toward city and business leaders.
This is a fabulous plan – but it doesn’t come with a check, Duggan said. Six months ago, there was no strategy and no funding, he said. Now, we’ve got the strategy, and we’re getting started on the funding.