Skip to comments.Detroit area's battle with blight may be key to survival
Posted on 07/25/2013 6:49:13 AM PDT by detective
DETROIT (Reuters) - If you want to tackle Detroit's thousands of abandoned homes and trash-strewn and overgrown lots, there are few better places to start than in Brightmoor in the northwestern corner of the city.
"Brightmoor is arguably one of the most blighted areas in Detroit, which makes it one of the most blighted areas in the country," said Kirk Mayes, executive director of community group the Brightmoor Alliance. "If you can tackle blight in Brightmoor, you can do it anywhere."
Local non-profit, the Detroit Blight Authority, aims to do just that, with and more to come once it raises more funds.
The group has hired 25 local residents, clearing an urban jungle of brush, trees and garbage to the point where occupied and abandoned homes are visible from the street and to each other. In a Detroit neighborhood like Brightmoor that is regarded as a victory.
When Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr filed last week for the city to enter into the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, he cited the need to tackle widespread blight, including many abandoned homes and other buildings, as one of Detroit's most urgent problems.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.msn.com ...
The article outlines the literally billions of dollars of other peoples money being spent to "help Detroit. One part is $500,000 given to "clean up" a neighborhood of 14 blocks. Over the past decades literaly billions of dollars of other peoples money has been spent in Detroit almost all of it wasted.
Expecting Detroit residents to maintain their own neighborhoods is like expecting a monkey to do advanced calculus. They destroy everything they touch and then they call it "blight".
If they want to save Detroit they should turn it into a giant unincorporated area and give the Detroit politicians and bureaucrats only a 100 sq yard area around City Hall within which they have jurisdiction to do or control anything.
There comes a time when the only appropriate thing to do is to bring out the proverbial handwashing bowl and this is one of those times. Tribalism reigns supreme when there is no leadership to prevent its existence.
I’m not sure when the appropriate time is but if I we’re in the real estate business there must be a right time to start scooping up land in these blighted areas. $500.00 lots has got to be a good deal even if you just bulldoze any structures.
Check out Zillow Listings:
I demolished and removed a burned-out house in CA a few years ago. I was able to re-use the foundation, so it wasn't a complete demolition. The cost was $25k.
I have no doubt that a $500 lot is a good deal, but that same lot for $25,500 is not such a good deal.
Instead of throwing money (OUR money) at the problem, why not institute something like the old ‘homestead act’.
Go in there, take up residence, fix and maintain it on your OWN dime and make it habitable! Remain there for the minimum of say, 10 years.
THEN and only THEN ... it’s
Y O U R S !
AND think of all the do-nothing cushy jobs this would create just to oversee and monitor this!!!!:)
Saving Detroit is easy in some respects, hard in others.
The political disaster is the hard part. Even if you put every last city council member in prison, the apathy of the people will just replace them with more of the same. Your best mayoral candidate is the guy who runs on the fact that he hasn’t been indicted .... yet.
The city council is owned by the unions and the unions have the power to punish the people and they do use that power. As one conservative Detroiter told me, if you become too vocal or step out of line, they’ll cut your water off for a week. Inspectors will line up at your door, all with a nitpick attitude and a hand out for a check or else.
Outside the union/council collective, returning Detroit to productivity is actually easy. Slash the extreme taxation and knock down the mountain of regulation and business will spring up like mushrooms after a spring rain. The big guys do just fine in Detroit because they can afford the protection money as a normal business expense but the little guy doesn’t stand a chance.
As far as blight is concerned, free up those salvage crews and let them attack the problem. If they aren’t suddenly liable for taxes on the abandoned properties they would be on them like vultures. The old red brick in some of those old buildings is worth a fortune like old barn wood. A guy who runs a general salvage business near me says that he would even pay a fair amount to salvage some of the material because of the money he could make from resale of brick, old copper roofing etc. He was told that he would have to take possession of the property and responsibility of back taxes and taxes going forward.
If you want to fix the blight in Detroit, start with the police and the Mayors office. The high crime rate and lack of a working business environment makes jobs go away and people go away.
All those abandoned houses would not be abandoned if the block was not a war zone. The owners would fix them up at no cost to the state.
So to repeat, bulldoze city hall not the residential areas. Because that is where the root of the blight lives.
Read a story about Detroit’s $500 houses, there are strings attached, such as back taxes. Taxes average around $7,000 to as high as $32,000. The houses have been stripped of everything can be sold, meaning new wiring,plumbing and a security guard 24 hours to stop the new being stolen again.
You’ve got to know the local politics. In DC, there are severe penalties after a year or two for just sitting on a vacant house. Two reasons: One, it does force development, and Two, it will turn into a crack house and cause no end of problems for everyone around unless either bricked (not boarded) up or occupied.
That idea is not new, coming from at least 1970’s and Rosslyn, VA. Forbes wrote it up nicely then. And Rosslyn has really changed.
Having lived through renovation after a riot, it will not change until the local police are really, really good. Words don’t count. If the pioneers report back to civilization that it’s just not safe yet, it won’t change. And...big and...unless the city allows new people, probably non-black, it won’t change.
yep... I saw on trulia, many Detroit foreclosed mansions, with beautiful wood floors, marvelous main staircases, big lots, 3 to 4,000 sq ft.. $130,000 with back taxes due of over $100,000... add in all the stripped plumbing, stripped wiring, these all look to have very old furnaces.. you are looking at quite a bit of money..
still a good deal, except for the neighborhood, which squelches it.. agreed that you would need armed security.. And I thought of later, when all work is done and you have moved in, with a constant gun under your pillow, and if you are in the back yard, you are packing... etc....
no way to live.. too bad... I’ll take a smaller house in a nice neighborhood, thank you.
I don’t know if the Governor has the authority to do this, but, the Michigan National Guard has Engineeer units with Dozers and Rome Plow Blades that can do a lot of land clearing in a hurry. Someone in the Government ought to consider this.
Detroit’s “blight” problem is an issue of the prevailing culture in that city. Until that is addressed, nothing will change.
If big numbers of non-black residents move into a redeveloping area, the likes of Jesse Jackson get p***d off, and say that evil “gentrification” is forcing out long time residents. I’ve heard him speak on this subject.
So, we can’t win, when dealing with a majority black city such as Detroit, and trying to revive the neighborhoods. In places where they have done redevelopment, the black activists have been angry that old time residents are forced out, due to inability to buy properties or pay steeply increasing rents as areas become more desireable.
Turn it back to farmland.
Good idea but...25 years ago, I worked as a weatherization contractor in Detroit Ghetto houses. As testament to the craftsmen who built them, they were still standing after 20-30 years of neglect. I determined then that there was no financially feasible way to save the structures. That was 25 years ago. Now, almost none of the houses are worth saving. Brick ones around Harper and Moross area, maybe, wooden structures-no way.
Yep. You can raze the house, cut back the brush, build a modern house for comparatively little, and you still have the same city government, the same schools, the same services, the same neighbors, the same criminals.
I have no doubt that within Detroit there is a population that is determined and hard-working enough to be self-sufficient, to pull their city up by its boot-straps. They won't be allowed. And that's the bottom line: they won't be allowed by entrenched interest and culture that only sees them as another source of plunder.