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Detroit Tear Down 40,000 Buildings

May 29, 2014 by  

Detroit Tear Down 40,000 Buildings, A task force convened by the Obama administration issued the most detailed study yet of blight in Detroit on Tuesday and recommended that the city spend at least $850 million to quickly tear down about 40,000 dilapidated buildings, demolish or restore tens of thousands more, and clear thousands of trash-packed lots.

It also said that the hulking remains of factories that dot Detroit, crumbling reminders of the city’s manufacturing prowess, must be salvaged or demolished, which could cost as much as $1 billion more.

If carried out, the recommendations by the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force would drastically alter the face of the nation’s largest bankrupt city. They would also cost significantly more than the approximately $450 million that the city already plans to spend on blight, raising questions about the feasibility of the vast cleanup effort, which is part of its larger campaign to emerge from bankruptcy by fall and begin remaking itself.

And the recommendations are certain to raise even more questions on the streets of Detroit about which neighborhoods will be helped first, and which will have to wait.

The blight study, which is perhaps the most elaborate survey of decay conducted in any large America city, found that 30 percent of buildings, or 78,506 of them, scattered across the city’s 139 square miles, are dilapidated or heading that way. It found that 114,000 parcels – about 30 percent of the city’s total – are vacant. And it found that more than 90 percent of publicly held parcels are blighted.

All in all, the report provides a remarkably gloomy, block-by-block portrait of the hollowed-out city’s misery and a virtual record of how Detroit’s population, once 1.8 million, has fallen to fewer than half that.

“Blight is a cancer,” Dan Gilbert, a business executive and leader of the blight task force, said on Tuesday, laying out highlights of the report, more than 300 pages and months in the making. “Blight sucks the soul out of anyone who gets near it.”

Using state law as a starting point, the authors defined blighted lots in a number of ways, including properties that are no longer structurally sound, have been damaged by fires, or become neighborhood dumping grounds. Hundreds of workers spent months driving around the streets here, observing and photographing the city’s approximately 377,000 parcels and feeding that detailed information into what is now, in essence, a complete computerized census of its buildings and lots.

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