Politics & Government
4:05 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Blight Task Force to count every land parcel in Detroit

Urban Prairie, Detroit
Credit Jtmichcock at the English language Wikipedia Commons

The condition of every land parcel in Detroit will be surveyed beginning this week.  The hope is to complete the survey in eight weeks, according to Glenda Price, a member of Detroit's federally-appointed Blight Task Force. The task force was established this past October.

Glenda Price is also president of Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

She said detailed knowledge of every block is necessary to prioritize resources for renovation, demolition or clean up, where needed.  She said the database will provide a consistent way to track whether a vacant parcel is a community garden or a dumping ground, or if a parcel contains a structure, what kind it is, whether it is abandoned, and what its condition is.

"What we are doing is gathering information so that we can make specific recommendations and put a specific plan in place for the remediation of blight long term,"  she said. 

The task force's recommendations to fight blight will go to Detroit's chief land officer, Roy Roberts. The other two members of the Task Force are Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, and Linda Smith, executive director of Detroit community development non-profit, U-Snap-Bac.

Task Force member Price  estimated that there are 350,000 property parcels in Detroit.

Price said there is no database showing their current condition.

Seventy-five teams of three people each will photograph every parcel. Most team members will be community residents.

Price said constantly changing conditions mean it's important to keep the database up-to-date.  A key goal is to involve local residents in that process going forward.

The effort to develop the database is being coordinated by Data Driven Detroit.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom