Friday, May 14, 2010
Detroit Will Demolish 10,000 Abandoned Homes With Federal Dollars
Detroit announced plans to demolish 10,000 abandoned homes with a $20 million grant it received from the federal government as part of the stimulus package. That same stimulus package gave $28 million to the City of Indianapolis. Oddly, the City will abolish fewer than a 1,000 homes with those same funds. Estimates during the Peterson administration suggested Indianapolis had as many as 8,000 abandoned homes. With the rash of foreclosures over the past couple of years, that number has likely grown substantially. Instead of the City simply spending the money to raze these homes, it is parsing it out to various community development corporations. City-County Counselor Jackie Nytes' Mapleton-Fall Creek CDC got more than $1 million. Her CDC has realized in this market that it costs more to rehabilitate these homes and try to put them on the market in this economy for even a break-even proposition. The City doesn't have a shortage of housing right now, but it does need to address the problem of eliminating these eyesores to prevent further deterioration of the surrounding neighborhoods. Abandoned homes deteriorate home values and propel crime in the area. I believe the City squandered valuable resources by relying on CDCs to get the job done instead of simply identifying the abandoned homes and spending the money to demolish as many of these unsightly homes as possible with this one-time grant. To demonstrate how bad it has gotten in Detroit, the original family home of George Romney, sold for $645,000 as recently as 2002. It has since been declared a public nuisance and ordered demolished. Can you imagine homes on North Meridian Street being torn down? That's what it is going to come to if our elected officials continue the same policies that are driving people to the suburban counties.