DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) - There were angry shouts like, “Save our land” that came from the gym at Timbuktu Academy in Detroit from people upset against the potential sale of land to Hantz Woodlands.
Hantz Woodlands is part of the Hantz Group, a Detroit based company. The owner, John Hantz, wants to buy up 180 acres of land near Indian Village and clear the blight and vacant homes and replace it with 15,000 trees. He lives in Indian Village two blocks away from the land he wants to buy to keep it safe and help clean up the city.
Community members against the sale like Myrtle Thompson-Curtis, who helped organize the event, say they have tried to purchase the same land but a big company like Hantz Woodlands is getting preferential treatment.
“I care about Detroit, I care about my neighborhood, I care about my family. And I just want to represent the ideas that are on the ground,” said Thompson-Curtis. Curtis also owns four parcels of land nearby where she cultivates food for community service groups. She said there are other groups like school and farm groups also interested in the land.
“They deserve just as much of a chance at entrepreneurship as John Hantz and that’s all I’m saying,” said Thompson-Curits. Organizers of the event in brought in actor and activist Danny Glover to their meeting.
“Those who have a historic and cultural relationship to this moment have to be at the table at this discussion that it’s part of, they have to be part of that discussion, that’s what I’m saying,” said Glover.
A spokesperson from Hantz Woodlands released this statement to 7 Action News:
“It is unfortunate there appears to be so much misinformation among this group. Many of the concerns they have expressed have been answered in both the Development agreement and the Community agreement. We have very strong support from the majority of residents who live in the development area, including the Lower Eastside Action Plan Partners, the Warren/Conner Development Corporation, The Villages Community Development Corporation, Church of the Messiah Housing Corporation, the Detroit Catholic pastoral Alliance, the Fellowship Nonprofit Housing, the Genesis HOPE Community Development Corporation, Immanuel Lutheran Church and the Jefferson East Business Association. We look forward to an affirmative vote on Tuesday.” -Tina Bassett, spokesperson for Hantz Woodlands.
Detroit City Council is holding off their vote on the proposal of the sale of the land until after a public hearing Monday. The December 10 meeting will be held at East Lake Baptist Church at 12400 E. Jefferson at 6 p.m.
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