Marisa Schultz of the Detroit News reports:
The city of Detroit will receive more than half of $100 million in newly allocated federal funds to tear down blighted structures.
It is a measure of just how utterly Detroit has failed that this is being treated as good news:
“This is excellent news for Detroiters and for improved public safety in the city,” said Bill Nowling, spokesman for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. “These funds will be put to immediate use stabilizing neighborhoods and eradicating blight. Next week the the city, with assistance from the state of Michigan, will begin knocking down blighted structures with these funds.”
The new Detroit rallying cry, then, might be: If we tear it down, then maybe they'll come.
Meanwhile, Garance Franke-Ruta of the Atlantic suggests that one way to help rescue Detroit would be to tie some of the city's derelict properties to the student loan debt hanging over the heads of so many of young people.
Debt-burdened recent college graduates, for their part, need cheap housing and to pay off their student loans. They need to live in a place they can afford, and they need some means of reducing the principal on their debt in a timely fashion so they can get on with their lives ... Maybe it's time to try to yoke these two problems together and allow for partial loan forgiveness for people who commit to living in distressed communities for a set period of time. The rents in Detroit couldn't be cheaper, nor could houses, should anyone want to lay down deeper roots.
Added bonus: There are also plenty of dogs available for adoption so the homesteaders would have pets for companionship.