Detroit demolition program: Contractors wait for work while vacant houses still stand

Posted at 7:03 PM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 19:06:35-04

Despite thousands of vacant houses still in need of demolition, several sources tell 7 Action News contractors are sitting idle, forced to lay off workers.

After taking office, Mayor Mike Duggan made Detroit’s blight a top priority.  An aggressive program was launched to tear down vacant abandoned houses.  In July 2016, Duggan marked a milestone with a press conference when house number 10,000 came down.

Lifelong Detroit resident Hattie Wright isn’t satisfied with the job.  When asked what grade she would give Mayor Duggan for the demolition work, she replied, a "D" because no houses have been torn down on her aging father’s block, or on her block.

According to sources, demolition work in Detroit has slowed to a trickle.  Things have gotten so bad for contractors, they are being forced to lay off employees.  According to the City of Detroit’s website, in the week of August 8th to 14th, only 103 blighted structures were removed, 0 vacant homes were posted with legal notices and no nuisance suits were filed.

Nobody with the Detroit Building Authority was willing to do an on-camera interview.  However, an employee did say contracts for the latest round of federal dollars earmarked for blight, $88 million, will be going out in the next few weeks.