Mayor, Councilmembers thank Detroiters for landslide Proposal N approval
- Neighborhood home renovation and demolition program projected to win nearly 70-30
- $250M bond plan is to preserve 8,000 vacant homes for rehab, demolish 8,000 more without tax increase
- Mayor will announce details and next steps in the coming weeks
A city ballot initiative seeking voter approval of a $250 million bond sale to renovate or demolish 16,000 vacant homes in neighborhoods and grow Detroit-based demolition and rehab companies appears to be sailing to a resounding victory, Mayor Mike Duggan said. As of noon today, Proposal N was winning by a margin of nearly 70-30 with nearly 50 percent of votes counted.
The proposal was the Duggan administration’s second attempt at a bond proposal to continue the city’s massive neighborhood blight removal program after receiving and spending $265 million in federal hardest hit funds. After the Mayor’s first proposal was rejected last year by City Council, the administration met extensively with councilmembers, residents and contractors to retool and improve the proposal, which Council later approved for the Nov. 3 ballot.
“This is what happens when you have a Mayor’s administration and City Council that work together,” said Mayor Duggan. “Because of the diligence of councilmembers, we were able to develop a better proposal that satisfied their concerns and was clearly embraced by the community. I can’t thank our partners on City Council enough for their leadership on this issue.”
Among those most vocally in support of the bond program were councilmembers Roy McCalister, Andre Spivey, Janee Ayers, Scott Benson and Gabe Leland.
“Yesterday’s election and the City’s tremendous voter turnout demonstrated yet again Detroit’s dedication to our most profound right as citizens, that of the right to the ballot. I was especially happy to see that Proposal N passed by a wide margin. This result represents a significant mandate to continue and finish the job of eliminating blight and enhancing our City neighborhoods,” said Council member Roy McCalister, Jr. “I want to thank the City Administration, in particular Group Chief Arthur Jemison and Demolition Department Director Lajuan Counts, for working with myself and my colleagues to strengthen the Proposal that voters approved yesterday. I am confident that under Director Counts leadership and City Council’s oversight, the bond approved yesterday will be properly administered, and new job opportunities, rehabbed homes, and less blight will soon be a reality in neighborhoods across our great City.”
"This is a huge win for the City of Detroit. Parents can feel more confident about the safety of their children and seniors can feel safe in their homes again. Young people can move back to the city into newly rehabbed homes to raise their families," said Council member Scott Benson. "Proposal N is a win that means thousands of homes can be revitalized, bringing renewed energy to our communities. This places Detroit squarely on the path to promise and prosperity."
Some of the provisions in the new bond proposal include:
- Save every house possible from demolition by prioritizing rehabbing 8,000 houses vs demolishing all 16,000 as proposed before
- Bring accountability for demolition back under full City Government oversight, including the creation of a new Demolition Department
- Give preference to Detroit companies in all rehab and demo contracts with a target of 50% of work performed by Detroit contractors, pushed by Councilman McCalister
- Give preference to companies who commit to train and employ Detroiters with target of getting companies to employ at least 51% Detroiters
- Partner with Community Development Organizations and qualified groups to rehab and redevelop houses and lots
- Give preference to Detroiters to acquire and reactivate vacant land in their neighborhoods
“Detroiters voted for a better future by overwhelmingly voting in favor of Proposal N,” said Councilmember Andre Spivey. “We now can continue our work of improving neighborhoods, while empowering small businesses and providing jobs for Detroiters. Detroiter should be proud as they continue to be the catalyst for neighborhood revitalization.”
"In my five years of serving on Detroit City Council, the number one concern I hear at community meetings is related to blight in neighborhoods. Reducing blight not only improves the aesthetics of our city, but leads to a reduction in crime and an increase in value for our neighborhoods," said Councilmember Janee Ayers. "I am thrilled to see the majority of Detroiters have voted in support of Proposal N for Neighborhoods. As Chair of the Budget committee, I am committed to diligent oversight of the implementation of this proposal and look forward to its positive impact on our city."
With Proposal N approved, Mayor Duggan said he will announce next steps for the bond program, in terms of the bond sale and plans to clear out, repair roofs and secure 8,000 solid vacant homes and demolish 8,000 dangerous and dilapidated ones.