Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kildee Seeks Funds for Demolitions

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, who was instrumental in creating land banks in Michigan, has introduced legislation that would free up $1 billion in federal funds to demolish abandoned property in Michigan and several other states. Todd Spangler of The Detroit Free Press reports:
Kildee's legislation, which he plans to introduce today, would give the 18 states and Washington, D.C., that were promised funding under a foreclosure mitigation program the ability to spend up to 25% of that money on demolitions. Under the original interpretation of the program, which dates to 2010, the $7.6 billion in funding could not be used for razing buildings.
The legislation, which Kildee is sponsoring along with Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Dayton, Ohio, wouldn't change any of the existing allocations or spend more, it would only give states the flexibility to move up to 25% of their total awards into demolitions if they chose. The original program was intended to target programs that helped homeowners pay back taxes, make mortgage payments, or otherwise avoid foreclosures.
Kildee and his approach to "shrinking cities" like Flint and Detroit is profiled extensively in Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young. The book is forthcoming from the University of California Press in June.


  1. Have anyone suggested Homesteding blocks of the inter city. This could be done by blocks and taxes could be held back for some number of years. The land during this time could be farmed and cleanup. Great thing about it the water and sewer are in. The land could also be uesed for Cows, chickens or other live stock?

    1. One problem would be that farmers and ranchers can't afford urban property taxes, but those taxes are necessary to pay for the police and fire protection and other land-based services provided by the City, and there's no practical (or, perhaps, legal) way to provide a rural level of such protection (i.e. considerably less than the currently reduced Flint level) to some blocks but not others.

      The City *might* be legally able to "de-annex" significant chunks of its area, back to the County. If that were done, the services provided within such a detached parcel would be those provided by the County, or by a Township. I don't think a de-annexation capability currently exists in State law, though, so Lansing support would be needed. And, I'm pretty sure the legal complexities would be such that that wouldn't be considered for individual blocks, especially if they weren't contiguous to a City boundary.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.