City of Detroit celebrating 3,000 demolitions under improvement proposal

‘We look forward to removing blight across the city, we know how comforting it is’

DETROIT – Nearly two years ago, Detroit began demolishing homes that were causing problems for neighbors.

On Friday (Dec. 16), it tore down its 3,000th home as part of the improvement project, but there’s a long way to go, with a goal of 8,000 demolitions still to come.

The 12773 block of Tuller Street will soon be no more. It’s symbolic not just to this neighborhood but also to the City of Detroit.

It’s a sound LaJuan Counts, director of Detroit’s demolition department, never gets tired of hearing.

“Never,” said Counts.

It’s something she’s been hearing a lot more of thanks to Proposal N, but on Friday, that sound is a little sweeter, knowing it’s the city’s 3000th demolition under the proposal.

“We understand there’s a significant amount of work still left to complete, and we’re going to attack them the same way we attacked the first 3,000,” Counts said. “We’re looking forward to not only additional demos, residential demos, but also we have commercial work, and we’ve begun those efforts with the Packard Plant.”

Counts is one of many celebrating the demolition. The moment has been a long time coming for Patricia Carter, who lived in the neighborhood for decades.

“You think you see one, but you get out the car, and then there’s three or four together and abandoned houses, and a lot of them had squatters in there, and people were stealing the hot water heaters and furnaces inside of them,” said Carter.

It got so bad at one point that Carter had to go to the city. Years later, she found peace watching those bricks fall.

“Oh yea, it means a lot,” Carter said.

Counts can’t wait to keep helping neighborhoods find that same peace as the department pushes ahead to its goal of 8,000 demolitions.

“We look forward to removing that blight across the city because we know how comforting and reassuring it is to these communities to be able to begin that rebirth by removing that blighted issue,” Counts said.

The city has also stabilized more than 1,300 properties under the initiative. Of the $250 million approved by voters for the project, the demolition department has used $63 million.

About the Authors:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.