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Neighborhood blight rehab and demolition: Here's Detroit's Proposal N explained

Detroit fighting blight
Posted at 5:32 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 17:54:35-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The burned-out, abandoned properties on Detroit’s west side have been an eyesore for residents like Gwen Holt, who lives just a block away.

“It’s time to bring the neighborhoods back," Holt said. "This is not the hood, this is our neighborhood.”

She’s been canvasing that neighborhood, encouraging others to put out signs and vote "Yes" on Proposal N.

“Proposal N, in many ways, is the neighborhoods that have been forgotten," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "People who do want to know, when is it our turn?”

Mayor Duggan is also hoping voters approve the plan, which gives the city $250 million in bonds to pay for blight rehab and demolition.

“This allows us to get rid of the blight now," Duggan said. "Make it safe for the children now and pay it out over several years, which is the right way to rebuild the neighborhoods.”

However, Detroiters like Agnes Hitchcock disagree. Not with the issue of blight, but with the proposal itself.

“My taxes are already too high," Hitchcock said. "Plus, I don’t trust the administration to do what they say they're going to do with the tax money.”

The proposal averages around 2.7 mils per year for 30 years, which is roughly $80 on a $30,000 home.

However, Mayor Duggan says Detroiters won’t see a change, as the city pays off other debt.

“We can borrow this money without raising taxes," Duggan said. "We will pay over more years, but your taxes will not go up more than what they are today.”

But for Hitchcock, she argues she would rather see her taxes go down as the city pays off other debt.

"$80 for 30 years? I could replace my steps," she said. "$80 for 30 years? I could replace my gutters.”

As the two sides rally support, Holt hopes the time is now.

"You have so many people who want to see a change, and it’s time for a change,” Holt said.

As part of the proposal, Mayor Duggan says the goal is to have 50% or more of the work be done by Detroit contractors.

Key Dates & Deadlines

Thursday, Sept. 24: Absentee ballots mailed out
Monday, Oct. 19: Last day to register in any form
Tuesday, Oct. 20 - Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 8 p.m.: Voter registration allowed in-person at local clerk
Friday, Oct. 30 at 5 p.m.: Last day to request absentee ballot by mail
Monday, Nov. 2: Absentee ballots must be postmarked to count
Tuesday, Nov. 3: In-person voting begins; polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.