Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has spent much of his first eight months tackling blight by demolishing abandoned homes and buildings that are ruining neighborhoods because of negligent owners.
But the most negligent property owner is the city of Detroit, which owns 25,000 dilapidated houses and commercial buildings, according to a sweeping report issued this year on city blight.
One of those city-owned buildings was recently struck by a car, causing the structure to partially collapse at 8810 Linwood, just blocks from the start of the 1967 riots. The accident happened shortly after midnight Sunday morning, when firefighters and medics painstakingly removed the driver from the battered car, saving his life after an incredible hourlong rescue.
The car has been wedged into the corner of the building since then, frightening motorists who have called 911 to report an accident. Look closer and you can still see blood from the crash.
Mayor Duggan’s office said today that the goal is to demolish the building within 30 days. It could be sooner or a little later.
“This is how they expect us to live,” complained Angela Williams, who lives near the Linwood building. “What are we paying taxes for? Sorry we ain’t fancy enough for downtown.”
Councilwoman Mary Sheffield’s office is hoping to expedite the process.
When it comes to emergency demolition, the closer a building is to downtown, the sooner it is demolished. Take the First Unitarian Church on Woodward, which was quickly demolished in May after a suspicious fire gutted the historic building adjacent to a new Red Wings arena.
Earlier this month, firefighters couldn’t get the city to demolish a burned house in order to save a neighboring occupied home. The burned house is owned by Deutsche Bank National Trust Company.
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.