Detroit plans legal notices in fight against blight

DETROIT (AP) -- Detroit will post legal notices on empty houses and take court action if needed against owners of blighted properties in one northwest side neighborhood, Mayor Mike Duggan announced Wednesday.

Duggan announced the Marygrove neighborhood effort as part of his revitalization program for the bankrupt city. He said notices will be posted on every vacant neighborhood home before owners are sued.

The neighborhood adjoins Marygrove College, a private Catholic school.

"Starting today, it's no longer acceptable to leave behind a vacant property in the city of Detroit," Duggan said in a statement. "Either you can fix it up, or the city will seize the property and get it into the hands of someone who will."

City Council President Brenda Jones and members of the Detroit Land Bank were on hand for the kickoff event.

"This is a new day for Detroit and Detroiters," said Jones. "Finally, we have a real strategy to restore our neighborhoods and the leadership and cooperation to deliver real results."

The program is modeled after one Duggan created and ran as prosecutor from 2001-2003, under which 1,000 abandoned homes were fixed up and occupied, and is being run by the Detroit Land Bank set up by the mayor and City Council in January.

Homes that are taken over will go to the Detroit Land Bank, which will auction off salvageable buildings on its website.

To smooth the way for buyers, Talmer Bank said it was committing $1 million to a program in which homeowners get $25,000 forgivable loans when they buy homes in the neighborhood at auction. The loans will be forgiven at the rate of $5,000 per year that the buyer continues to live in the home.



Published: Fri, Apr 11, 2014