Ferdinand redux 

When News Hits ran this photo of boarded-up homes along Ferdinand Street last month, we didn’t know what the hell was going on (which, more than a few critics have pointed out, is pretty much a constant.) However, in this case we tried — to no avail — to get some answers from the city before going to press. After all, both sides of a whole block in southwest Detroit lined with empty homes — at least half of which, we learned, were owned by the city — had to mean something was happening, right? Then we got a call from an unnamed reader who informed us a significant city project was in the works. According to Mr. Anonymous, the homes were slated for demolition to make room for a fire station, police precinct and emergency medical services. He was right. According to mayor Kilpatrick’s spokeswoman, Shannon McCarthy (who, we might add, is participating in what appears to be a new effort on the part of the mayor’s office to respond in a timely fashion to press inquiries), the city hopes to remove the homes in 120 days to make room for a public-safety mall.

"The community was crying out for public service in the area," says McCarthy. "We are still working through the planning stages and acquiring properties and giving the new police chief and head of the fire department a chance to look at the plans."

Thanks for the tip, Mr. Anonymous. We’ll keep you posted on the project. Or vice versa. News Hits was written by Curt Guyette, Lisa M. Collins and Ann Mullen. The column can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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