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Posted on Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Blight beat: Liberty Square demolition to begin Monday

By Tom Perkins


Liberty Square will be demolished on Monday.

Tom Perkins | For

Ypsilanti Township’s vacant Liberty Square townhouse complex has been a thorn in the townshp’s side as itfell into disrepair over the last decade and was eventually abandoned.

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.

Last April, the Michigan State Court of Appeals upheld a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge’s 2012 order to vacate and demolish the property.
View Liberty Square in a larger map

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Contact the news desk at or 734-623-2572.



Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 6:36 a.m.

Why not invite the owner of the Thompson Block building to show him how it's done ? What's his name ????


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

Good job for a dangerous soon-to-be former townhouse sub-division in Ypsilanti Township. Liberty Square was a mess for years. Hopefully, the next move for Township Officials is to promote a revitalization of this land for business development. Considering the fact the nearest Costco's is about 10-12 miles away in Ann Arbor, and the land Liberty Square sat upon is near a major freeway, maybe Township Officials should encourage Costco's to build a new retail facility in this area! A Costco's in Ypsilanti Township would provide needed employment opportunities on the heels of losing G.M. Powertrain facility.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

I recall some owners who had kept their places fixed up we're forced out for the demolition. Does anyone know if they were compensated? I sure hope so.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 12:41 a.m.

Why is it that housing projects always have to get torn down well before private homes of the same vintage? Perhaps because the residents don't really have a skin in the game?


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Its the Blight Leveling craze.. First Detroit. Then Ypsi. Next in line is Ann Arbor. Can't wait for those crews to start work on the highrise at 413 E. Huron.

Honest Abe

Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

Liberty Square was nothing more than a feeding ground for drug dealers, gangs, shootings and violence. I am sure Mr Radzik can recall those days quite well, since he was a Police Officer during those days. Thank goodness this haven for thugs is in the history book


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Congratulations to Ypsi Township! And thanks for the update, Tom.

dading dont delete me bro

Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

some dismantling has been going on...

greg s

Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Should have been done a long time ago, has been nothing but trouble for years now.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Surprising that demolition will take three months. Some of those buildings look like they'd be knocked over before a graffiti artist finished spraying the first indecipherable word.


Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 11:46 a.m.



Sun, Aug 4, 2013 : 10:21 a.m.

About time! I just feel for those who had their money invested and lost their homes. A shame that it had such poor management.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

It takes two to tango brian. Absentee management that doesn't keep up the property is just as culpable in rental properties as the residents. If tenants are actively contributing to decay (both physical and social), they can be evicted. Slumlords prefer to just let them keep piping in cash, though, at the long-term expense of their property and the surrounding community.


Mon, Aug 5, 2013 : 12:15 a.m.

Don't blame management, blame people who live like animals.