Plan to Raze Detroit Empty Homes in Final Stages

CNBC, July 17, 2012

As the next step in an April deal between financially strapped Detroit and the state of Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder is finalizing a plan to tear down thousands of abandoned houses in a bid to make the city safer.

Detroit has been hard-hit over the past four decades by a steep drop in population, a steadily eroding tax base and crippling budget deficits, resulting in countless barren streets punctuated by vacant lots and burned-out buildings.

The state plan, likely to be announced early next month, is part of a financial stability agreement reached in April that headed off the appointment of an emergency city manager, which Detroit had opposed.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing’s administration already has demolished 4,500 “dangerous and abandoned buildings,” according to press secretary Naomi Patton, and plans to tear down another 1,500 vacant structures by the end of September—part of Bing’s pledge three years ago to demolish 10,000 derelict buildings by the end of his term in late 2013.

In a statement, the mayor said, “We welcome the governor’s efforts . . . Tangible assistance from the state is critical to our efforts to transform Detroit.”

As Detroit struggles with a $197 million budget deficit, Snyder has looked at a variety of state actions to support the city. {snip}

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