Mayor Dave Bing is proposing to abandon large swaths of the city, move the few people remaining to more functional neighborhoods, tear down the buildings left behind and let what's left become forests, pastures and farmland.
The consolidation, aside from eliminating square miles of eyesores, would cut the cost of services like police, fire, snow removal, water and sewage.
Already people are said to hunt pheasants in abandoned neighborhoods, and Detroit-grown produce is sold in farmers markets. The markets are important because not one national grocery chain has a store in the city. Soon, if the city wants to have food, it may have to grow its own. . . .
Between 1970 and 2000, 161,000 buildings were demolished. There is estimated to be 40 square miles of vacant property, with 33,500 empty houses and 91,000 vacant lots.
Detroit has a city budget deficit of about $350 per person, an average house value of under $80,000, below average incomes and lots of resiidents who live the city to shop, all making it very hard to bridge the tax gap.
Greater Denver, meanwhile is having more success attracting grocery stores. A California chain is snapping up half a dozen former Albertson's sites in Colorado from Longmont to the South suburbs and Sunflower, a small natural foods grocer, is looking into a new grocery store in North Denver which lacks them.
A former Cub foods location in Glendale, Colorado (which is surrounded entirely by Denver) is still a big vacant hole in that urban village.