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Ombudsman: State not cleaning up its own mess in Detroit

Detroit ombudsman says state of Michigan is responsible for weeds, garbage near freeway

DETROIT – The city of Detroit has a huge problem with tall grass and trash.

It's dangerous and it needs to be cleaned up. However, the mess on the service drive along the Southfield Freeway near 7 Mile Road is the state of Michigan's responsibility. Durene Brown, the city's ombudsman, wants it cleaned up now.

"It is terrible out here. It is overgrown. There is trash," she said.

It's Brown's job to track citizens' complaints so city leaders know where to allocate money and manpower. She says Detroit has enough mess without the state of Michigan dumping on it, too.

"They shouldn't add to the problem, and they're adding to the problem," she said.

Brown says she called the Michigan Department of Transportation and was told there is only so much money in the budget. She says the state has a surplus and no other city in the state is treated this way.

"No one else would put up with this. It looks like the state doesn't care," she said.

Brown says the job would be much easier if she didn't have to get after the state to do its job.

"And when I see this stretch of the freeway and I see that it's someone else's responsibility it makes me suspect of the role that the state has taken in changing and improving the quality of life for us here in Detroit," she said.