City files lawsuit to have debris cleared away

(WXYZ) - The City of Detroit is going to war over a giant pile of rubble near downtown. The city has filed a lawsuit, demanding the mess be cleaned up, or it will seize the property. 

While Detroit's rapid response is good, it's raising  questions in neighborhoods full of blighted buildings.

When flames swept through the former First Unitarian Church on Woodward Avenue May 11, the historic building couldn't be saved.  It had to be demolished.  But while the wrecking ball was no problem, cleaning up the mess was. 

All the bricks and junk were just left in a monster pile.   It was clearly unacceptable to someone in the mayor's office, because the city moved with lightning speed, suing the owner, demanding it be cleaned up or the city would seize the property.

But, what about crumbling buildings in the neighborhoods? 

The Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God in Southwest Detroit has been sitting vacant and open for years. 

"The church has been there a number of years, but it's been burnt down about three to four years."  said Jennifer Boston.   "I wish they could board it up, do something with it."

On Detroit's east side, there has been no quick action to do something with the old Eastown Theatre on Harper Avenue.  It wasn't until Action News brought the dangerous building to the city attention that they put orange barrels out as a safety measure.

In Southwest Detroit, the old South Rademacher Recreation Center, which is owned by the City of Detroit, needs to be demolished.  It's been sitting partially torn down for years.

Alexis Wiley with the City of Detroit says, "We are 100 percent committed to our neighborhoods and this is just the beginning.  You are seeing us go after houses in the neighborhoods."

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