Demolition begins at Detroit's Brewster-Douglass housing projects

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing was joined by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan on Wednesday as the long talked about demolition of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects began.

The first stage of the project began with the demolition of the complex's Frederick Douglass homes low-rise row homes.

The demolition was made possible by a $6.5 million grant from HUD that was awarded because of the working partnership between local, state and federal agencies.

City officials say the demolition of the complex, which was abandoned in 2008, paves the way for future redevelopment of the area.

"This site has long been an eyesore and a breeding ground for crime in our city. Today, we are marking the beginning of the property's demolition, thanks to funding from HUD and the work of the Detroit housing Commission," Mayor Bing said in a news release. "The knocking down of this former housing complex represents a major accomplishment in our four-year effort to eliminate neighborhood blight by demolishing a total of 10,000 dangerous, vacant structures by year's end."

The Brewster-Douglass complex was the nation's first federally funded public housing development for African Americans when it opened in 1935. The complex was the childhood home for the Supremes Diana Ross,  Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, comedienne Lily Tomlin and boxer Joe Louis.

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