Minority contractors sought to tear down Detroit blight

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is looking to hire more minority-owned contractor firms to tear down blighted properties in the city.

Flanked by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other community leaders today, Duggan announced an upcoming event, Contractor Opportunity Fair, to “connect more Detroit-based and minority-owned Detroit contractors” to not only reduce blight, but perform repairs on salvageable properties.

The initiative comes at a crucial time for the city as it tries to ramp up demolition efforts with millions in federal funds. But critics have called into question the rising costs of demolition – most notably in a series of Fox 2 reports – and, perhaps more quietly, a lack of minority presence in contract bids.

With his Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, Jackson lobbied for $2 billion in federal funds for blight removal nationwide. It is unclear how much of that funding will go toward Detroit’s blight-removal efforts.

On May 13, the city will hold its first Contractor Opportunity Fair at the Northwest Activities Center on the city’s west side. The goal of the fairs, according to the city, include increasing the number of Detroit contractors certified in Detroit, encouraging contractors to pursue demolition work, create a network of city-based contractors and help contractors gain access to lending from banks and other funding programs.

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“Detroit-based, minority-owned companies will play a key role in Detroit’s resurgence and our ability to meet this growing demand,” Duggan said in remarks today.

For more information, visit www.detroitmi.gov/demolition.

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