Foreclosure Crackdown In Detroit – 70,000 Homes At Risk

One of every five Detroit properties in Detroit are in the process of foreclosure under an unprecedented effort by Wayne County to take possession of every property that is three or more years behind in taxes.

Wayne County is beginning to notify an unprecedented 80,000 property owners – about 70,000 of them in Detroit – that they are on the verge of losing their property to foreclosure because of delinquent taxes.

By comparison, the county began the foreclosure process on 42,000 properties in 2013 and 56,000 properties this year.

The treasurer’s office is targeting every property owner who is at least three years behind on taxes as Detroit embarks on an aggressive plan to eliminate blight and recover lost revenue under Mayor Mike Duggan.

“We have decided to foreclose on everything,” Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski told me. “In 2008 and 2009, finances were so tight that people had to decide between eating and paying taxes in Detroit.”

But, Szymanski said, “The economy has improved.”

ghetto house in detroit with broken down car

The treasurer’s office said it’s important to begin the foreclosure process because it often prompts people to pay their bills. It’s also important because homeowners are eligible for assistance under the Step Forward Program, but not until the legal process has begun.

“If someone can’t pay their taxes, they really shouldn’t own a home,” Szymanski said, adding that the county offers payment plans. “We have a culture that has grown to expect that taxes are optional.”

The county began sending out crews to knock on doors and erect foreclosure signs on the affected properties. The county also is notifying property owners by regular and registered mail.

Szymanski said the treasurer’s office is sensitive to the struggles of residents but said it’s critical that the county recover delinquent taxes to pay for vital services such as police and fire protection.

“We can’t provide services without taxes,” he said.

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robocop arrives at robocop day

Detroit Celebrates Robocop Day, Statue To Honor Our Beloved Robotic Police Officer

Today I went downtown Detroit for “Robocop Day”, an event I had only heard of a few days earlier. I had read about the event and the limited, vague itinerary on mlive.

Original Robocop Day Itinerary:

Noon – ROBOCOP and Detroit Police Department arrivals

    • 12:10 p.m. – ROBOCOP presentation and statue announcement
    • 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Fan photo opportunities with ROBOCOP
    • 1 p.m. – ROBOCOP and Detroit Police Department departure to protect the City of Detroit
  • 7 p.m. – ROBOCOP throws out the first pitch at Comerica Park

I met a buddy and his co-worker at 1301 3rd St in Detroit, the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters building, which is where the itinerary said the event was happening. Upon arrival at noon, we were told that the event had been moved to Campus Martius Square. Hmm, last minute, but alright.

By the time we drove there, found a parking spot and got to the park around 12:15, there was still no Robocop. In fact, we didn’t see any signs of anything related to Robocop. We walked into one of the buildings, and my friend asks the security guard behind the counter at the information desk, “Where’s Robocop”? He looked puzzled, and after a few moments began stuttering, “Um, uh, I uh, don’t know what you’re talking about”.

After wandering around in the square for a few moments, we stumbled on some people in black shirts that said “Robocop”, handing out cupcakes. “Robocop will be here soon”, one of the said. “Here’s some free cupcakes”.

small woman dressed in robocop costume at robocop day in detroit 2014

Fans waiting for the arrival of Robocop

At this point we didn’t really know what to expect. This event seemed so poorly planned, we wondered if the city of Detroit had planned it! However, it was really just a promotion for the DVD release of the latest Robocop movie. One can only assume the movie studios organized the event to generate some buzz in the media.

Robocop finally arrived at about 12:50. Damn traffic. He arrived in a Lincoln Navigator with blacked out windows. There was a crowd of a couple hundred people or so now. There wasn’t really much said by the event organizers, just that you could get your picture taken with Robocop and that they would be going to the Fillmore next. That wasn’t on the itinerary at all, but we couldn’t stay any longer at this point as we had only planned on being here from 12-1 as the itinerary had originally stated.

There is, however, an actual 10 foot bronze statue of Robocop that was supposed to part of this event. Who knows, maybe this was happening at the Fillmore. Supposedly, the location of the statue’s placement is still up in the air.The statue was privately funded though, as you may be wondering how the city of Detroit has money for this. I assure you, they don’t. And if it did belong to the city, they would have already scrapped him.

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detroit people mover rail system

Detroit’s People Mover Rail System Is A Ghost Twon

Like everything else in Detroit, the People Mover rail system is losing money. Even during the 2014 Detroit International Auto Show, the busiest time of the year for Detroit, hardly anyone rode it. The People Mover rail system covers only 2.9 miles, and only moves in one direction. It also has 13 stops along the way. It makes a loop around the perimeter of downtown Detroit, but doesn’t service the residential areas beyond.

Public transportation has never been very popular in Detroit, in defense of the People Mover. As you might expect from the Motor City, people here all own cars and drive wherever they need to go, even if it’s only a short distance away. That’s just the way it is here… cars are part of the culture of Detroit. I rode the People Mover last year when I went to the Orion Festival on Belle Isle, and we were the only ones on it. It was a very strange feeling, like being in an empty amusement park but with all of the rides still moving.

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