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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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