Blight authority to level 35-block area, 68 homes in northwest Detroit

A nonprofit campaign to purge blight from large swaths of Detroit is now targeting a 35-block area in a largely abandoned section of Brightmoor, commonly nicknamed “Blightmoor.”

The Detroit Blight Authority, a nonprofit team dedicated to massive cleanups, announced today that nearly 70 homes would be demolished and hundreds of lots cleaned up this year in a plan that would cost about $900,000 in donations and grants.

The authority was created last year and initially leveled 10-12 blocks of blighted land bound by Chene, St. Aubin, Pierce and Wilkins near the Eastern Market in February. At the center of the project is Bill Pulte, grandson of the founder of Pulte Homes. He and his team met with then-Mayor Dave Bing in December 2012 and hashed out the plan.

The latest area in Brightmoor is riddled with abandoned, burned-out homes, dead trees and discarded tires and garbage. There are no plans for the property once it’s cleaned up, officials said.
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The land near the Eastern Market remains empty, but it’s maintained.

Officials said massive, expensive cleanups such as these are required to clean up a city that has more than 85,000 abandoned structures across 139.5 square miles.
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The group has managed to demolish houses at a cost of less than $5,000 – or about half of what Detroit pays to raze homes.

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.