Blight beat: Liberty Square demolition to begin Monday
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Now, the housing development will come down in what will conclude the township’s largest and longest-running blight elimination project.
Ypsilanti Township’s elected officials will gather with the director of the Michigan Land Bank, Kim Homan, and other state officials for a brief on-site event on Aug. 5 at 10:00 a.m. to knock down a wall on the first of 17 buildings.
It will kick off a three-month demolition process.
“This project has been a three-year team effort and everyone involved is pleased that demolition activity is finally ready to begin,” said Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards. “This site has been an eyesore in the community and has sucked up public safety resources for way too long.”
This demolition project is funded, in part, by a grant from the Michigan Land Bank. Ypsilanti Township is one of 34 grantees awarded funding through the Michigan Blight Elimination Program.
The $654,000 the township received for the project includes the direct cost of demolition, but does not include the more than $170,000 the township has spent on legal fees, boarding-up fees, an asbestos survey and asbestos abatement.
The grant funds were part of a $97 million settlement banks agreed to pay the state of Michigan for their role in the foreclosure crisis. The settlement came after a national class action lawsuit filed by Michigan, 48 other states and the federal government, and some of the money was earmarked for blight elimination projects.
The township’s award was among the largest sums provided directly for the demolition of one building. Prior to learning about the program, township officials weren’t sure how to fund the massive demolition of the 151-unit housing project.
“The Michigan Land Bank and its consultant have been great partners,” Radzik said. “This project is among the higher dollar amounts awarded through the state's Blight Elimination Program for a large single site that will have a tremendous impact in the community. We are grateful for the opportunity to complete this project.”
Liberty Square sits on 26 acres on Grove Road just west of Rawsonville Road. Township officials say they believe the land, once cleared, will be strongly positioned for redevelopment.
The township's efforts to get the property brought up to code or, when complex leadership failed to do that, demolished, began in early 2008 when notices of violation for upkeep issues were posted on 68 units.
Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com. Contact the news desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2572.