DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, city councilmembers and community leaders announced a new blight plan for neighborhood improvement.
Proposal N will place a high priority on saving and rehabilitating vacant houses, the mayor's office says.
Duggan says today’s proposal is a joint effort with City Council after they voted down the proposal he made last year.
Duggan says the plan was reworked over the last several months during conversations with city council.
The Neighborhood Bond Proposal now calls for saving 8,000 houses that are structurally sound. It will also demolish 8,000 homes that cannot be saved.
It will also require contractors to hire Detroiters to do the work.
It will be run with City Council oversight. And, Duggan says, it will not cause taxes to be raised. He says they have the capacity to borrow to pay for the program.
Duggan says the first step in saving the 8,000 houses that can be saved will be to clean them out. They will then be secured with exterior protection that is stronger than plywood.
Duggan estimates that 6,000 houses need this stronger protection.
The third step is to fix the rooves, so that water does not damage them.
Duggan says these efforts add value, making them more attractive to buyers. It also makes it safer for people who want to rehab the houses.
City Council is working on a proposal that would give priority to neighbors who want to purchase one of the homes.
In order to ensure Detroiters are hired for the jobs, they are requiring employers to have either 51% of staff be Detroiters, or they must join the FCA hiring program through Detroit At Work, which gives hiring preference to Detroiters before they get to out of the city applicants.
Duggan says this new proposal is a much better plan than the one he put forth last year.
Duggan says they are targeting the proposal for the November ballot. Councilmember Andre Spivey says he believes council will vote on the measure in the next two weeks.
A previous blight proposal by Duggan was rejected by the city council last fall; the proposal would have allotted $250 million to finish tearing down 18,000 vacant homes.
According to a report from the Detroit auditor general, the program to demolish vacant homes in Detroit has been mismanaged for years. Both state and federal investigations have been underway, since both have invested millions into helping the project.