Nature gets a haircut

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

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Frank Kalinski
Thu, 11/20/2014 - 10:41am
I am and have been concerned for a long time just what has been "illegally dumped" in the City. It is very expensive to properly dispose of even small quantities of what could be deadly toxic substances. Possible? Sure. Are you going to going and grubbing around in that stuff? Even the workers mowing the grass could have been exposed to God-only-knows-what. Even minimal testing can quickly run up a bill of $20,000 because you don't know what you're testing for so EVERYTHING has to be tested for! If you don't test all you know for sure is that you don't know...
Thu, 11/20/2014 - 1:44pm
This is great news...the right thing to do and long overdue. Look at all the stumbling blocks (buildings and debris) that have been removed...clearing the way for entrepreneurs who have the courage and vision to revitalize Detroit.
Alex T
Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:39pm

almost 200 acres of contiguous abandoned property. wow. you wouldn't think there would be that much free space. what, do you think, the city will do with it? how does one value that kind of land? good luck Detroit - and not just for this space.