Detroit Blight Authority raises $1.1 million in new mass blight removal funds; Senator Levin commends work in Detroit
By: Katie Higgins
DETROIT, January 20, 2014 – The Detroit Blight Authority, chaired by Bill Pulte, announced today that it has raised $1.1 million in new mass blight removal funds that will go toward the Blight Demonstration Zone, a 35-city-block demolition area in Brightmoor. The announcement was made by Pulte during a press conference with Senator Levin and community members in attendance.
“This will be the largest cleared area of blight removal in any Detroit neighborhood,” said Pulte. “Blight removal of this magnitude demonstrates to the state and federal government how serious we are in Detroit.”
The Blight Demonstration Zone consists of two new projects. The first is within the 96-acre perimeter of Brightmoor that has already been cleared of brush. Within the 14 block area, structure demolition of 67 vacant homes will begin in May, pending approval by the City of Detroit. The remaining 21 blocks to be cleared of brush and vacant structures will extend south of the 14 blocks, stretching to I-96.
Major funding for the projects came from the Skillman Foundation, Marjorie Fisher Foundation, Dan Gilbert, DTE and Ajax Paving.
“I want to commend the Blight Authority for its work,” said Senator Levin. “If you don’t tear down all the vacant houses, the blight will grow. You need to rid the neighborhood of all the non-viable homes and overgrown brush to make the entire neighborhood safe. That’s what the Blight Authority is doing.”
In partnership with Data Driven Detroit and Loveland Technologies, the Blight Authority also unveiled its proprietary technology system that maps out all the structures in an area and shows important information on each one, including permits and asbestos testing. The system was developed for city-wide use and has been fully integrated with all of the Blight Authority’s construction partners.
The Blight Authority chose its Brightmoor demolition locations based on feedback from the community. The non-profit plans to hire local laborers to help with demolition and clean-up efforts.
“We are experiencing transformational change in the community,” said Kirk Mayes, executive director of the Brightmoor Alliance. “The Blight Authority has been an amazing partner that has made a significant and positive impact on Brightmoor.”
Leading to this announcement, the Blight Authority, in partnership with Mayor Dave Bing, successfully cleared a 10-block area at the corner of St. Aubin and Wilkins Street, near Detroit’s Eastern Market in early 2013.
Watch aerial video footage of the Blight Demonstration Zone below.
To download photos from the Detroit Blight Authority, click the images below.