Neighbors worry over overgrown grass at vacant DPS schools

DETROIT (WXYZ) - We've been exposing the poor state of vacant Detroit Public Schools for weeks. Now, with the summer months coming, there is a new concern with some of the schools - overgrown grass.

The playground at the former Hutchinson Elementary school on Detroit's east side is looking like a jungle. The weeds are nearly waist high. You almost need a machete to hack your way to the monkey bars.

"Kids can't even go to the park and play," said one concerned neighbor.

7 Action News checked a few other vacant schools and found similar conditions.  

Pastor W.J. Rideout's church sits across the street from Hutchinson elementary. He would like to turn the old school into a community center for the neighborhood. 

Members of his church have been chasing scrappers away from the building. He believes if DPS isn't going to maintain the property, they should donate it to his church.

A spokesperson for DPS released the following statement:

DPS continues to intensify efforts to secure buyers for our surplus real estate, including for this property. We contacted this pastor several months ago, and are still awaiting an offer from him for this property.

Our work to aggressively to sell and lease unused buildings to individuals and organizations, thanks in part to our recent Real Estate Conference for developers, has resulted in 16 pending sales and leases for our vacant buildings.

This fiscal year, we have secured $2.8 million in sales and leases, and we currently total $6.1 million in pending sales, in which we are working towards closing.

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