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Detroit Mayor Duggan announces program to spur sale of vacant side lots to city homeowners


DETROIT — The thousands of vacant lots that dot Detroit deserve more attention than the city can offer, Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday in announcing a series of fairs that will let homeowners buy side lots adjacent to their property for $100.

The program is part of Duggan's plan to reduce blight in the city, The Detroit News reported.

"Detroit owns way too much property in this city," Duggan told reporters. "Instead of having overgrown lots filled with garbage, we want to have a beautiful fenced lot maintained by the neighbors. ... People can do a whole lot better job of taking care of the lot next door than City Hall can."

The city has transferred about 10,000 city-owned lots to the Detroit Land Bank.

Lots on Detroit's southwest and west sides will be featured Dec. 6 in the first of the "side lot sale fairs." About 1,000 side lots are available in each of the two districts. The city expects similar fairs next year in Detroit's other five districts.

WDIV-TV reports that the city said the process of buying a vacant lot once took six months to a year. The new program could cut it to one day.

Residents must be current on their city taxes or enrolled in payment plans to quality. The average property tax on a typical lot is estimated at about $48 per year.

Elizabeth Hegedus bought a lot next to her home this fall in southwest Detroit. A house had been on the spot but it burned down about five years ago, she said at Wednesday's news conference. She plans to plant evergreen trees, shrubbery and flowers.

"We are so happy that we got this lot," Hegedus said. "I love this neighborhood and would never live any place else."


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