DETROIT — Some Detroit residents are using a do-it-yourself approach to start businesses amid the city’s overabundance of vacant land and wide open spaces.
Ron Shelton is sinking his finances into a small apple orchard and cider mill in a neighborhood dotted with empty lots and aging homes.
Detroit’s population loss of about 1.1 million people since the 1950s and subsequent bulldozing of empty and dilapidated houses have left it with about 120,000 vacant lots.
Other former manufacturing hubs are dealing with what to do with empty lots once houses are torn down. Chicago has sold more than 400 vacant parcels since 2014. In Milwaukee, homeowners next to a vacant lot can buy it for $1.
Detroit’s Land Bank charges homeowners $100 for city-owned side lots next to their homes.