Father, son help tackle Detroit blight

City hiring contractors to tear down 177 homes

DETROIT – The city of Detroit is putting a dent in the blight problem by hiring some contractors to tear down 177 homes on the city's northwest side, called the "Mega Cluster."

One of the contracting companies is Esso Wrecking, located in Detroit. All of the people who work for Esso live in the city of Detroit, including Derrick Reynolds, who has worked for the company for 29 years.

"We're here. We see what goes on in the city. We know what exactly needs to be done, so I think it's a plus for the city to hire contractors that's from the city of Detroit," Reynolds said.

Reynolds said he wants the city to come back and is happy to be a part of its resurgence.

"I want the blighted houses gone. I want the community to come up. I want the crime to stop and make the city back to a place where they would love to come, to say this is where I'm from, Detroit," said Reynolds.

He shares his love for the city and the trade with his son, Desjuan Reynolds, who is 19 years old and has been learning how to do demolition.

"When it was my time like, up to age to come out here, I asked him like, 'Dad can I come work with you?' And he said yeah and gave me a chance. I can go anywhere with this trade, so it's great for me to learn it,"  said Desjuan Reynolds.

"I love him to death because he's trying. He wants to do something with his life, so it makes me a proud father to say that," said Derrick Reynolds.

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Esso has three more homes to demolish on West Euclid Street, and the city expects the demolition for all of the northwest side to be finished in the next few weeks.

The money for the project comes from the U.S Department of Treasury's Hardest Hit Fund. The Detroit Land Bank was awarded that money a few years ago and has been using it to demolish homes in the city.

"This father and son team are a great example of how opportunities are being created in Detroit for Detroit residents as a result of the city's blight removal program," said Brian Farkas, of the Detroit Building Authoritiy. "They are great representatives for our city."

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