Abandoned Shelter of the Week

Tyree Guyton has been polka dotting abandoned homes and buildings in the city for more than a decade in an attempt to nudge city administrators to do something about them. Maybe Guyton’s hand graced this 1908 structure on Dubois near Chene with his signature mark. Or it could have been a Guyton wannabe branded the structure, adding a bit of color to the blight. However the large purple dot got there, News Hits salutes its painter for attacking the issue with the weapon of art.

Taking a different approach to the problem is state Sen. Joe Young Jr. (D-Detroit). News Hits received a call from Young’s office with the scoop that the good senator has helped secure $5 million for the rehabilitation or demolition of about 300 houses in the city. Young, who originally sought $15 million for the effort, has been trying to get the project under way for three years. A big sticking point was obtaining clear title to the properties, he said. That done, the next step is to determine which buildings are given a new life and which get leveled. If the latter, says Young, it’s important that the lots be put to use.

“It would be a tragedy to begin to improve a neighborhood by tearing down an abandoned house, only to have a weed lot or junkyard spring up,” he opined. “In order for a city to be built, I’ve always believed that when one house comes down, another should go up.” Way to go, Joe.

The state Department of Management and Budget will be taking bids for demolition of those homes that can’t be saved. According to Young’s office, the project should be completed by the end of 2002.

Photo by Ann Mullen. Text by Ann Mullen & Curt Guyette.

Editor’s note: If you know of an abandoned home you would like to see featured in this spot, send a photo and pertinent information to News Hits, c/o Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 (or e-mail [email protected]).

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