Detroit City Council to weigh Duggan's $250M plan to eliminate neighborhood blight

Oct 28, 2019 at 5:05 pm
click to enlarge A demolition in Detroit. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
A demolition in Detroit.

Detroit City Council may decide as early as Tuesday whether to approve a ballot initiative that would ask voters to support a $250 million bond proposal to help eliminate the remaining blight in the city’s neighborhoods.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration is expected to present its proposal at the 9 a.m. council meeting. Under the plan, the city would use the bond money and additional general fund dollars to demolish 19,000 vacant houses and renovate up to 8,000 abandoned homes within five years.

For the proposal to appear on the March 10 ballot, the council must approve it by early December.

Duggan said the 30-year bond would not require a tax increase.

Since Duggan took office in 2014, the city has demolished more than 19,000 vacant houses, primarily using $265 million in federal funds. That money has run out.

Duggan said the city reached the “halfway point” toward eliminating residential blight.

“For the past five years, residents living outside of the federal boundaries have been asking me when it’s going to be their turn and those have been difficult conversations,” Duggan said in September. “Because these funds will be completely controlled by the city, neighborhoods that have lived with blight for decades will see all of it removed within five years of the bond sale being approved.”

The mayor’s demolition program has come under intense scrutiny and prompted several investigations over soaring demolition costs and environmental hazards.

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