A task force charged with tackling blight released a sobering, unprecedented report today detailing the scope of decay in Detroit.
“No city in the country has taken on the scale of blight that Detroit faces, nor have they proposed eradication timelines as aggressive as ours,” the report reads.
The findings are based on eight months of painstaking research and data collection by the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force and Motor City Mapping. The task force was created by the Obama administration to develop a plan to remove blight in the city.
Here are nine eye-opening highlights from nearly 350 pages of data:
1. A third of the city’s 264,000 houses, apartments and commercial buildings are blighted.
2. The worst blight offender is the city of Detroit, which owns 24,977 dilapidated structures and 3,600 blighted lots.
3. Nearly a third of the city’s 263,569 parcels are vacant. Half of them are owned by the city.
4. More than 70,000 Detroiters have lost their homes to foreclosure from 2009 to 2013, costing the city $745 million in property taxes.
5. The cost to remove the blight will cost a whopping $1.7 billion to $2 billion, funds that could come from a variety of private and public sources. “The most significant challenge by far is funding,” the report concludes.
6. More than 40,000 structures need to be demolished immediately because of safety concerns and significant blight, the task force concluded.
7. More than 6,500 structures sustained significant fire damage.
8. Dumping was spotted on 6,135 vacant lots and the property of 4,174 houses.
9. The largest concentration of blight appears to be in the zip code of 48205, which is also one of the city’s most violent areas.
“No city in the country has taken on the scale of blight that Detroit faces, nor have they proposed eradication timelines as aggressive as ours,” the report concludes.
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.