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Duggan: Detroit ready to relaunch demolition program

delapidated Detroit house
Jason Paris
FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Detroit is ready to restart its sweeping demolition program, Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Friday.

Detroit voters approved Proposal N, a $250 million bond proposal, in November. The city will use that money to both demolish and rehab many of the city’s remaining abandoned properties.

Duggan said the city has selected seven companies to start demolition work on more than 1,300 vacant homes.

He said all of those companies are small Detroit-based contractors, and five are Black-owned. And, “in every one of these seven companies, more than 51% of the workers who will be doing the work are residents of the city of Detroit,” Duggan said.

Duggan said the timeline for the demolitions depends on how quickly the Detroit City Council acts on the proposed contracts. “If my [Council] colleagues here can get them passed before the end of the month, we will be in doing the asbestos abatement in February, and you will see demolitions start this spring,” he said.

Duggan also announced that the city will begin soliciting bids to work on the first 300 homes the city has slated for rehabilitation next week.

Under Duggan, Detroit has gone on a demolition spree, taking down more than 20,000 homes since 2014. The demolition program stalled after it ran out of federal funds, but the passage of Proposal N has revived it in a somewhat different form. The program will now direct its efforts toward neighborhoods that didn’t benefit from the initial rounds of largely federally-funded demolitions.

Duggan has said repeatedly that his signature policy will improve quality of life for everyday Detroiters. In the end, with no funding, there is no demolition,” he said. “We now have the ability to fund the demolition within our city and make a huge impact.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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