DETROIT (AP) — A vacant Detroit housing project that was home to the Supremes before the talented trio struck gold with Motown is coming down.
Demolition of the massive Frederick Douglass Homes — known to most Detroit residents as the Brewster projects — could begin in early 2013, Mayor Dave Bing announced Thursday.
Covering several city blocks, the complex bathes part of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods in shadow and fear and is a symbol of the city's decline.
A $6.5 million federal Housing and Urban Development grant will cover the cost of tearing down the 75 condo-style apartments, two 6-story buildings and four 14-story towers. Soil remediation — the removal of any below-ground pollution — is included in that tally.
"It's going to take us, probably, the better part of a year to get everything down," the mayor told reporters at a news conference in front of the hulking complex. "This total area will be cleaned up."
The city has no set plans for redevelopment of the complex where a young Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson lived before signing with Berry Gordy's Motown Records in the early 1960s. Past proposals have included a mix of new homes and retail establishments.
"I know there's a lot of history here. I'm sure some people may even think that it shouldn't come down," Bing said. "But as we look at changing the face of Detroit, this is going to start with this.
"It's become an eyesore. We've got to think about now and our future. Our future is demolishing this."
The 2010 census confirmed what many Detroiters already knew: thousands of people have migrated from the city in recent years. Some 30,000 homes stand vacant and abandoned buildings litter the once-thriving industrial center.
The Frederick Douglass Homes was not always one of the blots on the landscape. Formerly known as the Brewster-Douglass housing project, the 661 units were completed in the early 1950s to provide affordable homes for working-class people.
The last families were vacated in 2008 by the Detroit Housing Commission as conditions in the buildings became unsafe. Though it's empty now, the complex is frequently visited by police and firefighters responding to reports of crime and arson.
By tearing the buildings down and clearing the land, the city's scant emergency resources can be deployed elsewhere, Bing said.
Adjacent to the unfenced housing project is a senior citizens complex. Some children in the surrounding neighborhood have to navigate their way past on their way to school.
"We have big concerns in regard to our children being harmed or snatched up from people who are lurking in these buildings," said Brush Park Citizens District Council chair Mona Gardner. "It's not secure."
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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