By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK — Progress takes patience, and Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause knows that residents would like to be rid of eyesore homes and buildings sooner rather than later.
“I’ve talked with three residents today,” Krause said Thursday after a typical morning at city hall. “What was the topic? Blight. The long-term residents see the decline and the blight, and they want it arrested.”
One step toward that was taken last month, after a lengthy review process by building officials, city council approved 10 buildings for demolition. Last week council authorized the bid process to begin; it is expected to cost $80,000 to raze the 10 buildings, mostly houses and a few vacant businesses.
Building and Engineering Manager Dennis Chagash described the properties as “substandard,” vacant or abandoned structures that qualified as “dangerous” after years of neglect or damage.
Once approved, however, it will likely take at least six months before demolitions begin. Krause said that DTE Energy requires a half-year lead time before assuring that power is no longer connected. The waiting period caps a lengthy review process during which property or land owners were afforded every opportunity to restore the building themselves.
Still, Krause said the approvals are one part of an ongoing struggle to restore the city to its better days. The issue of blight shared top billing among candidates during last year’s election, and Krause said it remains a priority for her administration.
“The council and I have to really put our heads together and say ‘this is unacceptable,’” Krause said. “We’re on the right path, and we’re planning to get more homes on the demolition list next round. As far as I’m concerned it can’t go fast enough.”