Monday, March 08, 2010

urban renewal

Due to liberal policies such as high taxation and a glut of overpaid union workers, Michigan is in terrible financial difficulties, especially the city of Detroit. But what is a horrible financial mess for some folks is opportunity for others. Foreclosed houses (1/5 of the standing buildings) in Detroit are selling for $1-$5000 cash, giving those who could not possibly afford a home a way to achieve the American Dream.

I saw this cycle firsthand in downtown Portsmouth where magnificent homes built between 1820-1860 were selling for $20,000 to anyone with enough guts and vision to see the future. Now those same homes sell for $400,000, even in today's depressed market. The first to move into a blighted area with cheap prices are the young artists, followed by the entrepreneurs who swoop in to fix up houses and sell once an area has been deemed trendy and on a safer financial footing. Finally, the masses jump on the bandwagon and home values soar. Instead of viewing the depopulation of Detroit as a crisis, folks who need a hand-up in today's economy should look at it as an way to escape their present circumstances.

But what is blight to some is proving an opportunity to remake parts of the city for others living there. The Old Redford part of Detroit has suffered its share of desolation. The police station, high school and community centre are closed. Yet the area is being revitalised, led by John George... They are pulling down housing that cannot be saved and creating community gardens with fresh vegetables free for anyone to pick.

"Detroit has some of the nicest housing stock in the country. Brick, marble, hardwood floors, leaded glass. These houses were built for kings," George added.

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