Mayor Bing announces demolition of historic Brewster projects

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Mayor Dave Bing announced the Brewster-Douglass housing complex, more popularly known as the Brewster projects will be demolished.

Bing has said in the past that the city was committed to working with Housing and Urban Development officials and the Detroit Housing Commission on the demolition.

The tall brick and mortar units which have six story buildings and four 14 story towers had been one of the oldest public housing projects in the country.

It was once the home of hundreds of auto, manufacturing, and other workers providing for their families.  The low-income housings sat a little northeast of downtown Detroit.

It was once the home of Diana Ross and The Supremes.

Miguel Thornton moved into of the buildings with his parents and a sibling. He quickly became a paperboy in the neighborhood.  Along his route was the home of Diana Ross' mother.  

"Her mother would buy the paper from me," said Thornton.

Thornton remembers the area being filled with kids and told 7 Action News everyone looked out for each other.

"We all knew each other," said Thornton. "Their parents were my parents, my parents were other kids' parents."

While walking through the old buildings now filled with graffiti, he reminisced about a time when the area was busy and filled with fun times.

"Here in the streetlights in the summer…everybody sang," said Thornton.

Now, Thorton looks at the smashed out windows in almost every unit and the trash poured inside and sprinkled throughout the grounds.

With a federal grant for $6.5 million, crews will tear down the old projects  in an effort to get rid of some of the crime.  It's part of the Mayor Bing's promise to remove thousands of abandoned buildings.

In a press conference Thursday, Bing said he was just 500 short of his goal to rip down 3000 abandoned structures.

Thornton knows it is a sign of the times.

"Because it's in such decay, I can understand," said Thornton.

No date for the demolition has been set but the mayor is hoping for early 2013.

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