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Detroit announces Van Dyke/Lynch, Gratiot/Findlay, and State Fair as first three 'solar neighborhoods'

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 24, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit's Mayor Mike Duggan has announced the city will soon break ground on their three first-ever solar neighborhoods.

It's part of a city initiative to take blighted land and use it to create a clean future. 19 city neighborhoods applied to be selected.

The three neighborhoods chosen so far are the Van Dyke/Lynch, Gratiot/Findlay, and State Fair neighborhoods. Solar arrays will now be built within the neighborhoods.

"Today we’re announcing phase one, 100 acres, we’ll be doing phase two in 2025," said Mayor Duggan. "In those 100 acres, we have only 21 owner-occupied houses, that’s less than one owner-occupied house per block. These are the most blighted areas in the city."

It's because these areas are so blighted that Duggan said they were chosen to be solar neighborhoods. When they were chosen the city gave homeowners living within two options.

One, they can take a voluntary city buyout, or two, they can stay and the city will build the solar array footprint around them, and give them $15,000 to $20,000 for home repairs.

Donna Anthony is one of the homeowners who chose to stay in the Gratiot/Findlay neighborhood.

She told us, "Oh my goodness, I’m so excited about upgrading the insulation in the attic, the new windows I’m going to get, the generator, I’m going to get a generator, oh my God, yes!"

Anthony said she has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and has watched from her front porch as neighbors have continued to leave over the years.

Interview extra: Donna Anthony talks about living in 'solar neighborhood'

RAW VIDEO: Donna Anthony talks about living in 'solar neighborhood'

When most of them left she said, "My God, there’s no communication, there is how you say blight, there is vandalism, there is crime, there’s a lot of undesirable things happening because there is no one here to see anything."

It's in part because of this that Anthony said she is so excited about becoming a solar neighborhood.

With the arrays and the money, the neighborhood will also get the blighted areas of their community cleaned up and added area security.

According to Duggan, ultimately the combined 200 acres of Detroit solar neighborhoods will generate enough clean energy to offset the electricity use of all 127 city municipal buildings.

He said the arrays will make Detroit a national leader in fighting climate change, and ensure a bright future for those who choose to live within them.

He added that the groundbreaking will hopefully take place before the end of 2024.

"You’re saving the planet. You’re not looking at blight," said Anthony. "You’re looking at something that is helping the community and environment."

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