DETROIT – Michigan has divided more than $75 million in federal funding to fight blight among 12 cities, with Detroit getting about two-thirds of the money, as part of efforts to deal with vacant and dilapidated buildings across the state, officials announced Tuesday.
Detroit is getting $50 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s “Hardest Hit” fund program, including $2.6 million in reserves from an earlier round of funding. Funding includes $6 million for Lansing, $5.5 million for Jackson, $5 million for Highland Park, $2.25 million for Inkster and $2.19 million for Ecorse.
“This is another important step in Michigan’s comeback, which has become a national example for what can be accomplished when federal, state and city partners work together with a shared vision to solve a problem,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement.
“As a result of this collaboration, these cities will be better places to live, work, play and invest.”
“This partnership demonstrates a commitment to revitalizing our cities and to addressing the damaging effects caused by vacant and blighted properties,” said U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin.
The city of Detroit, which officially emerged last week from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, has worked for years to deal with blight, including vacant homes and businesses. Thousands of structures have been razed. Other Michigan communities have faced the problem on a smaller scale as residents moved out and businesses closed or relocated.
Detroit has spent $57 million this year to combat blight, putting funds toward nearly 3,700 demolitions in targeted neighbourhoods. The city plans to demolish another 3,300 structures with the new federal funds, expanding anti-blight efforts to more neighbourhoods. An average of 200 demolitions is expected each week.
“With another $50 million … we will be able to improve the quality of life of thousands more Detroiters, right in the neighbourhoods where they live,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.
Each community involved must spend 25 per cent of all funds in the first six months, 70 per cent of funds within a year and 100 per cent within 18 months. U.S. Treasury Department requirements state that any remaining funds as of Dec. 31, 2017, must be returned.
The eligible communities were chosen by MSHDA based on an evaluation system that included residential housing vacancy rates. MSHDA met with local officials in October to discuss planning details, project costs and the required timeline for the work.
Other communities getting money are Muskegon Heights ($1.8 million), River Rouge ($1.3 million), Port Huron ($1 million), Hamtramck ($952,000), Ironwood ($675,000) and Adrian ($375,000).
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