Saturday, August 8, 2009
As a crew of about a dozen young men tore away at the home, Radio Telefis Eireann reporter Charlie Bird marveled at the numerous vacant homes that dotted the neighborhood near Burgess and Pickford on the city's northwest side.
Bird and his crew are spending 2009 examining various issues affecting cities in America for a three-part documentary that will air in Ireland.
"It is unbelievable," Bird said as he surveyed the numerous burned and boarded up houses in the neighborhood. "I have never seen anything like this."
Motor City Blight Busters staff and volunteers were tearing down a house that caught fire recently and was too damaged to renovate, said the group's founder John George. The nonprofit has a $100,000 contract with the state to tear down 10 vacant buildings in the neighborhood. State housing department money is covering the work.
They have until the end of the year, but have razed nine buildings since June 1, George said. He expects to raze the last house by the end of the month.
Once the structures have been razed and hauled off, George said he plans to install a community garden and park in their place. This way the empty lots do not become a haven for illegal dumping or for stripping stolen cars, he said. Plans are still in flux.
"What it won't be is a magnet for crime," George said. "We are going to replace the negativity with something positive."
Bird said he hopes the images show his viewers what residents in the United States are up against and how they cope with such issues.
"We are telling people in Ireland what America in 2009 is all about," he said
Posted by Southofdub at 9:46 AM