Scenes from a city, beginning anew
For more than a decade, the 189 acres of land southeast of Mt. Elliott and Huber have composed one of Detroit’s largest parcels of contiguous abandoned property. A former working class neighborhood, the area was cleared for a suburban-style industrial mall that never was built, and it gradually devolved into a vast zone of illegally dumped debris and untamed nature: red oaks, London plane trees, silver maples, Little Siberian elms, Catalpas, Norway maples, American elms, lamb's quarters, Queen Anne's Lace, foxtail grass, and Kochia. You could hear water running through old pipes and see wild dogs, birds that seemed unusual in the city and, this past September, artist Scott Hocking cutting crop circles in the tall grass for an art project.
It’s all gone. Over the past two months, workers have transformed the zone by hacking down the trees and weeds and removing the debris. Now the acreage looks like it has received a haircut. The work, which could end up costing more than $500,000, was commissioned by the city’s Economic Development Corporation to prepare the area once again for an industrial mall. An EDC spokesman said market conditions have improved enough so that the land will be marketed for warehousing, logistics, light assembly plants or other industrial uses. – Bill McGraw