DETROIT, Nov. 19, 2014 (AP): 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.''