Estimates place the number of vacant structures in Detroit at nearly 70,000. According to the Detroit Free Press, Mayor Dave Bing will do away with 3,000 of them this year, and 10,000 or more by 2013, the year his present term as mayor ends.
Bing has taken a page from DPD Chief Warren Evans’ playbook, using crime statistics to determine where the bulldozers go first. This year’s plan has Bing using federal stimulus funds to focus not on the ugliest properties, but ones most likely to be used by gangs and thugs, or torched by arsonists.
Demolition will proceed in three phases, with 1,000 properties leveled during each phase. Phase one targets largely lie in the Osborn, Kettering and Brightmoor areas. Mayor Bing got input from the DPD, the fire department and the Building & Safety Engineering Department in charting his strategy.
Chief Evans praised Bing’s approach. “The more houses that are down are the fewer places for illegal activities to be going on,” he said. “This is a good tool for the city when departments are talking to each other and thinking more globally.”