Pulte family cleans up Detroit to 'fight blight' - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Pulte family cleans up Detroit to 'fight blight'

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In order to clean up the city, support the tear down of blighted buildings and make neighborhoods look more inviting, Detroit has teamed up with a nonprofit company. Mayor Dave Bing recently announced the city's new partnership with a private nonprofit company, the Detroit Blight Authority.

Recycling 80 percent of the material removed, working with utility companies to negotiate wide spread and applying free market principles are just a few of the concepts behind the Detroit Blight Authority.

After his grandfather told him not to touch the massive, taunting project with a 10-foot-pole, Bill Pulte became even more excited about cleaning up Detroit. "I said to my granddad 'is there a way we could tear down in a mass way these homes for lower cost, and higher impact,' and so after much convincing, I got him to come up with a plan and he presented it to the mayor and the mayor was very supportive," said Bill Pulte. "We knocked out 10 blocks in 10 days in one area, for the lowest cost ever on record."

The mission of the Detroit Blight Authority is to fight blight by tearing down hundreds of abandoned homes, cleaning up the city, and recycling, instead of creating costs by piling onto land fills. The project to clean up Detroit is about the Pulte family being charitable and is not an affiliate of Pulte Homes. The Detroit Blight Authority completes projects in high volume, so that Detroit benefits from a low cost, higher impact ratio. The company placed a lot of equipment in Detroit and had someone who understood management of a large system, like this. The approach is different because the company is not contracting at one house here and there. The cost was lower to complete the project in 10 days.

"The idea would be to take this model and scale it across the rest of the city. We'd be able to do it for half the cost of what it would be proposed to remove blight from the entire city and we'd also be able to do it in five years," said Pulte. At a rate of about 13,000 homes in a year, the Detroit Blight Authority can knock it out in less than five years. Over 30,000 vacant structures currently exist in Detroit and when combining commercial and other structures, the rate increases to 70,000. When asked why he is excited about the project, Pulte said "I'm putting so much energy into this because I think we can make a really big impact."

Online: blightauthority.com

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