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Detroit’s neighborhood revitalization plan behind schedule

July 6, 2018

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit’s neighborhood revitalization project has lost some federal funding after falling behind schedule, and residents say city officials aren’t communicating well about their plans.

Mayor Mike Duggan announced plans last year to rehabilitate 115 empty houses and 200 vacant lots in the Fitzgerald neighborhood. The developer, Fitz Forward, has yet to finish renovating a single home, though three projects are expected to be completed this summer, the Detroit Free Press reported . Most of the lots have been cleared, though beautification work has not yet begun.

Revitalization group Century Partners and development firm The Platform are working together on the Fitz Forward venture.

City leaders have pushed back the expected completion date to December 2020. The project delay has resulted in a loss of $274,000 from a federal grant. City officials made up for the shortfall by dipping into the city’s general fund.

“The city’s allocation of funding to the Fitzgerald project is entirely appropriate. It serves the public good,” said Lawrence Garcia, the city’s top lawyer.

The total cost of the project is between $12 million and $15 million, said David Alade, co-founder of Century Partners.

Residents expected to see more progress since the project began in April 2017, said Gaston Nash, president of the College Core Block Club, which is made up of residents of the Fitzgerald neighborhood.

“We expected to see progress not too long after that. Now we’re finding out that they’re really just getting started,” Nash said. “I’m really not quite sure — other than what’s been worked on with those three homes — what’s been done so far.”

The project is moving slowly but is on track in a larger sense, city leaders said. The city is ready to open a new park in the area.

Residents say city officials haven’t been clear about the park’s layout and development or the availability of side lots in the area.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, http://www.freep.com

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