Plan to rid Detroit of 35 blocks of blight unveiled

January 20, 2014 in News by The Manimal

Source: Detroit News

A plan to get rid of 35 blocks of blight in a neighborhood where 80 percent of the homes may be empty was unveiled Monday by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and the grandson of one of the nation’s largest home builders.

The project is the latest effort of the Detroit Blight Authority, a nonprofit lead by Bill Pulte, descendant of William Pulte, founder of PulteGroup Inc.

The 35 blocks are in the northwest neighborhood of Brightmoor and the estimated plan would cost up to $900,000 and clear nearly 70 homes.

“You can’t tear down a house here, a house there… it doesn’t work,” Levin said at a Monday press conference at Brightmoor Community Center. “If you don’t tear down all the houses in a community the blight will gradually grow,” Levin said.

The plan still needs regulatory approval, but Pulte said that should come soon and the blight could be cleared in an initial 14-block area by the end of May.

Pulte formed the blight authority last year and the group lead the effort to clear 10 blocks in the Eastern Market area.

Blight, one of the most pervasive problems in the city, is a major focus for many civic, neighborhood and public leaders this year. The cost to get rid all of it may top $1 billion, city officials have said in the past.

Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert is helping lead another effort to count every parcel in Detroit to figure how much blight there is in the city. Pulte on Monday said he supported a earlier vow made by Gilbert that he would work to get rid of every single piece of blight in Detroit or die trying. “That’s me, too” Pulte said Monday.

The Brightmoor effort is being funded by a mix of foundation, corporate and government money.

It has not yet been decided what would happen to the land once the area is clear.