Mayor Bing fights neighborhood blight with innovative approach to empower Detroiters

For just $200, some Detroiters can buy neighboring vacant lots and receive help sprucing up the property.

It’s part of Mayor Dave Bing’s efforts to target revitalization in select neighborhoods by empowering Detroiters to spruce up their surroundings.

Bing announced today the expansion of the White Picket Fence Program that will allow homeowners of the city’s North End community to take advantage of the blight-busting deal. The program, announced in March, prompted residents to purchase more than 100 lots in Hubbard Farms, Springwells Village and Southwest Detroit, Bing said.

It’s an innovative approach to cleaning up the city, block by block, without spending a fortune. In fact, Charter One, is paying for residents to build a fence and improve the property.

“This program helps to create strong, viable neighborhoods throughout the city,” said Scott Swanson, president of Charter One and RBS Citizens in Illinois and Michigan.

The program is part of the mayor’s ambitious plan, Detroit Works Project, to encourage residents to move out of dying neighborhoods and into more vibrant areas where improvements are targeted. While it won’t change the city overnight or even in a few years, the idea is to make small, incremental change that eventually will revitalize some of Detroit’s historically beautiful neighborhoods.

“The White Picket Fence Program is an important component in our Detroit Works Project – Short Term Actions,” Mayor Bing said today. “The program provides residents with an immediate tool to reduce blight in our neighborhoods, and the fenced lots tend to deter illegal dumping. We are looking forward to continuing to grow this program in various parts of the city.”

The North End is bordered by Woodward to I-75 and Grand to Arden.

For more information on the plan, contact Greg Holman in the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department at (313) 628-0076.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.