DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit is considering creating a demolition department to help deal with rising costs associated with tearing down blighted and vacant properties.

The idea was among those discussed Tuesday before City Council.

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Brian Farkas, special projects manager for the Detroit Building Authority, says the plan could lead to the city buying or leasing equipment to perform some demolitions.

The department could start by tearing down five to 10 houses per week out of Detroit’s goal of 150 per week. It’s not yet clear how much the city could save by demolishing properties itself.

Carrie Lewand-Monroe, executive director of the Detroit Land Bank Authority, said the cost of demolishing a home has dropped from about $16,000 to just under $14,000 over the past few months — and she hopes to drive that number even lower.

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“We are looking at every single possible option out there in order to bring costs down for demolition,” Lewand-Monroe told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “So, we’re really looking at everything from bringing demolitions in-house for those high-cost demolitions.”

City Council President Brenda Jones expressed concerns with the idea, saying the city got out of the demolition business and sold all of its equipment. To buy or lease that equipment again seems like they would be running around in a circle, she said.

Detroit conducted its own demolitions starting in the 1980s and continued until the early 2000s. Currently, contractors handle the work. Thousands of buildings have been torn down.

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