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Unfinished jobs raise concern over Detroit's plan to reduce blight

Thousands of vacant homes have been destroyed

DETROIT – Mayor Mike Duggan's aggressive plan to reduce blight in Detroit by demolishing vacant homes is reaching into the thousands of homes that have been brought down.

Each demolition is a mini job site, so there are bound to be problems at some of them. One of those is on the city's northwest side, where a neighbor told Local 4 that he's concerned contractors aren't finishing what they start.

A man who lives in the area of Seven Mile Road and Evergreen Road said city contractors aren't finishing what they're paid to do.

"All of a sudden it was a mad push," he said. "Whole lot of houses at one time, down, down down."

The area of Patton Street and Clarita Street in northwest Detroit has seen a vacant housing demolition push. The streets are pockmarked with holes that were left behind by demo crews that brought down a house and hauled the debris away.

Kenneth Adams contacted Local 4 and said he goes to Patton Street every day to check on loved ones. He's not seeing contract crews come back to finish jobs they've already started. There are several sites where the homes are removed and fill dirt is ready, but not pushed in.

Now the fencing is down around the hole that's left, and people are throwing trash into it.

"Well you wonder why the dirt pile is there, and the hole is there," Adams said. "Doesn't take a rocket scientist to know you can push the dirt in the hole and the job is over."

Adams revealed a mountain of old tires that he said were packed into a vacant home, removed by the crew when the home was demolished, then piled up on the street.

"You're creating a new problem when you say you're fixing an old problem," Adams said.

The city said it can and will suspend contractors that are only doing a half job. The city is taking heat for paying up to $20,000 per demolished house, but the latest bundle of demo jobs have come in at $14,000.

Bottom line, Adams doesn't want kids falling into the holes.

Shawn Ley called the city and the tires were cleaned up this weekend. Next on the to-do list: Fill in the holes.


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