Detroit expands 'White Picket Fence' program

Initiative allows property owners to purchase adjacent, vacant city-owned lots for $200


DETROIT – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on Thursday announced the expansion of the "White Picket Fence Program" into the city's North End community.

The initiative provides an opportunity for property owners to purchase adjacent, vacant city-owned lots for only $200.

Residents receive a $200 gift card for the purchase of supplies to fence and beautify the lots.

"The White Picket Fence Program is an important component in our Detroit Works Project," said Bing. "The program provides residents with an immediate tool to reduce blight in our neighborhoods, and the fenced lots tend to deter illegal dumping. We are looking forward to continuing to grow this program in various parts of the city."

The start of the program

Bing announced the launch of the White Picket Fence Program during his State of the City address in March. For the pilot program, property owners in Hubbard Farms, Springwells Village and Southwest Detroit were invited to buy vacant lots next to their homes. To date, more than 100 lots in those areas have been sold.

Both communities selected for the White Picket Fence Program -- Southwest Detroit and North End -- are demonstration areas in the Short-Term Detroit Works Project, which is designed to provide an immediate impact on the quality of life for residents. The North End community's boundaries are Woodward to I-75 and Grand to Arden Park.

VIEW: White Picket Fence Program Participant Map

Program partners

The city's partners in the project are: Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, and Charter One.
"Charter One's commitment is rooted in the belief that when the community prospers, we all prosper, which is why we are pleased to support the City of Detroit's White Picket Fence program," said Scott Swanson, president of Charter One and RBS Citizens, Illinois and Michigan. "This program helps to create strong, viable neighborhoods throughout the city."

The Charter One Foundation funded the vouchers for fencing and beautification supplies for the Southwest Detroit lots.

The program's participating vendors are Brooks Lumber Company and Casey Fence.

The second phase of the White Picket Fence program in the North End community is being funded by Fifth Third Bank, which will provide $25,000 for fencing materials. Additionally, Fifth Third -- in partnership with First Independence Bank -- is offering $300,000 in Home Repair Grants provided by The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis.

Beginning next spring, eligible homeowners in the North End community can receive up to $7,500 for energy-efficient repairs on items such as roofs, windows, furnaces, and insulation.

Interested in the program?

For information on the White Picket Fence Program, North End property owners can contact Greg Holman in the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department at 313.628.0076 or gholman@detroitmi.gov.

Funding for the Home Repair Grants for North End homeowners will be available in April 2013. For information, contact Fifth Third Bank's North End community partner, Vanguard Community Development Corporation at 313.556.2025.