In 2019, Mayor Duggan presented a $250 million bond proposal to address Detroit’s neighborhood blight. Duggan envisioned eliminating all residential blight by 2025. However, when initially presented before City Council for ballot approval, the council rejected the proposal in a 6-3 vote. Among the concerns expressed were the lack of emphasis on employing Detroit residents and proper management oversight.
“To allocate over half a billion dollars to tearing down homes, but you’re not addressing what’s causing the blight in our community, is a problem for me,” said Councilwoman Mary Sheffield.
Former Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said better accountability was needed.
“I was on Council when that hardest hit money was used allegedly for blight — not accounted for correctly, no record keeping. This bond will add more burden onto the taxpayers.”
Following council’s rejection, the mayor remained committed.
“I didn’t hear any Council member say that it wasn’t important to get blight out of our neighborhoods. What we need is a plan that both the mayor and Council can agree with,” said Duggan.
Since then, Duggan has worked with city council and contractors to make amendments. Those new changes include stronger emphasis on renovating Detroit properties instead of complete demolition and requiring contractors to adhere to allotting at least 51 percent of all job hours to Detroit residents. Additionally, the city has shifted the demo process from Detroit Land Bank and Detroit Building Authority to city control and hired a lead for the city’s new demolition department.
Monday, several Black contractors along with Detroit City Council members Scott Benson, Roy McCallister Jr., and
Andre Spivey expressed their support of the revised proposal. In a press conference ,Councilman Andre Spivey said,
“I have people in my district who cannot get homeowner’s insurance right now. They live next door to a vacant home.” Spivey added, “As council members, our only job is to put it on the ballot. We’re not approving it. We’re putting it in the people’s hands.”
If passed by city council, Detroiters will see the neighborhood proposal on their November ballot.