DETROIT (WWJ) – A local business leader has a plan to demolish vacant and dilapidated homes that have been plaguing Detroit for years.

WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas spoke with Edsel Ford of the Ford Motor Company, who said he wants to do something to help.

“I live on the east side and so I drive a lot on the east side of Detroit and I see all these homes that, you know, frankly need to be torn down,” Ford said. “It’s sad. I mean, I see this woman everyday when I go home at night and she sits in a very nice home right next to a home that’s caught on fire, and I feel so badly for her.”

Ford’s idea is to establish a demolition fund and have other businesses, civic leaders and stakeholders contribute to the cause.

“As community leaders, I mean, why couldn’t we establish a fund where we all might kick in or something along those lines? I just think that… strictly for demolition, we need to help the city. We need to come up with plans,” Ford said.

What is Mayor Dave Bing saying about the effort?

“I’m aware of it and I welcome anybody who wants to help,” Bing said.

The mayor also met with officials from Ford Motor Co. Monday to talk about a potential job creation plan to put Detroiters to work.

Comments (9)
  1. Steve says:

    Why not let homeless people live in those vacant homes?

    1. Moe Abbass says:

      Because they are unsafe for living. It would cost them more to repair the homes for use than it would be to just tare them down and sell the land to developers.

    2. Brian says:

      Uhh the homeless do have a plce to go its called the homless shelter. You cant ask tax payers to pay to remodel a rundown vacant homes for someone to l;ive for free. That person who proably doesnt work or has some mental disablility. Demolish the homes!!

  2. Shanna Womack says:

    The statement I find most ironic is that he feels bad for the woman who lives in a nice house next door to a burnt out home. Surely you all could do something else then say all these empty homes need to be torn down. Like I don’t know put the homeless in them, or give people more incentives to come back to Detroit? Better yet the city could take up these homes, fix them and turn around and rent them back out as subsidized housing for low income folks. That alone has the benefits of providing income for the city, housing for the homeless or poverty line as well as fixing that “awful” look of empty houses that used to be peoples homes. Just a random couple of thoughts there!

  3. Nonya says:

    Remodeling is extremely more expensive than demolishing. Demolishing is still very expensive and if these people who are backed by real-estate investors can get the land cleared for free basically, they can come in and buy up tracks of land super cheap. Then they will be able to turn around and get government money to create jobs after they have fought for four years to prevent jobs from being created. Then they will invest in cheaply build houses to sell and rent to the new employees.

  4. KTinMP says:

    I’m with you Nonya. These homes are not worth remodeling. Sure, the homes that can be saved without enormous financial investment should be saved, but those properties are far and few between. Many of these homes have been vacant for years and even when they were occupied they were not kept up. Lead paint, asbestos, outdated electrical and plumbing – just plain dilapidated! Demolish them all! It would save the city millions and make them millions (eventually). Think about it, once these houses are gone all the city will have to do is mow the vacant land and wait for the parcels to sell. I’m sure this will cost quite a bit but how much does the city pay out when the fire department puts out a vacant house fire? Or better yet, how much does the city pay to police to run drug dealers and addicts out of vacant houses and run down neighborhoods? To investigate the murder or rape that is committed in vacant houses? Costs a lot more than a fleet of lawn mowers and city landscapers!

  5. Pat C says:

    I with Edsel Ford, tear them down. I recently spent 4 days in Detroit toured the east side. This include the neighborhoods from Stockton Park up to Mariners Park, including Klenk Island and the surrounding canals. It is a shame that such well placed real estate has so many burned out and vacant homes. From my experience it is much less expensive to tear them down and start over. Sure some of the extravagant brick structures can be saved, but start somewhere and tear down the dilapidated wood frame houses. And would someone with mean purchase the 7 acres for sale on the river? Klenk Island is such a neat area and you think a group of local business people would see this and rebuild the area.

  6. Anne H. says:

    My mother and father have lived on the east side for 52 years. Never have I seen it so bad as in the last 3 years. Instead of tearing down the vacant houses they should be focusing on saving them before they get to the point where they need to be torn down. They need to buy them and donate them to Habitat for Humanity and get people living in them again. If they start tearing them all down, soon there will be nothing but large tracts of grass like there is in the inner city and farms. The east side has always been a working class community. Unfortunately there are no jobs left in the city or Michigan that allow people to stay here. Once that chanages it will help. Whatever happened to D.A.R.E.? It used to help stabilize part of the neighborhood. There needs to be an organization that makes the owners of these houses board them up and maintain them. What are the neighbors doing to help?

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