Oakland County, Mich. will team up with the Detroit Blight Authority to help resurgent communities such as Pontiac. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Bill Pulte, chairman of the Detroit Blight Authority and CEO of Pulte Capital Partners, announced a public-private partnership at a news conference today whose aim is to improve neighborhoods by eliminating blight.
“Bill Pulte and I have been friends for years. When I learned that he wanted to expand his blight removal efforts, I jumped at the opportunity to see how we could help each other,” Patterson said. “Pontiac is on the path of succeeding once again. Improving its neighborhoods is another step toward its long-term recovery.”
Pulte developed the Detroit Blight Authority as a new standard for getting rid of blight. This non-profit organization is able to remove blight at about half the cost while recycling 80 percent of the material.
“Our goal is to revive neighborhoods block by block,” Pulte said. “We will begin our efforts in the City of Pontiac which has a list of more than 550 homes slated for demolition. We will also work with other communities which have a need for eliminating blight.”
The first home Pulte’s Detroit Blight Authority will clear will be the vacant dwelling at 70 Thorpe St. in Pontiac. It is located east of Telegraph Road and north of W. Huron Street. Pontiac City Councilman Don Woodward, who represents that neighborhood, said getting rid of blight will improve the city.
“This is the next step in the comeback of Pontiac,” Woodward said on behalf of Mayor Deirdre Waterman who was out of town at the time of the news conference. “The city administration says that the timeline for eliminating blighted homes from our neighborhoods will be moved up by one or two years with Pulte’s help. That’s great news for Pontiac residents.”
County Commissioner Mattie Hatchett, who represents all Pontiac residents, said that the partnership between Oakland County and Pulte’s Detroit Blight Authority will improve safety and property values.
“I applaud the partnership between Oakland County and Pulte’s Detroit Blight Authority,” Hatchett said. “This will create a safer community environment and improve the appearance of the neighborhoods. Removing blight will bring more stability to our city and I hope will be a catalyst for new development in Pontiac, which is one of the oldest communities in Oakland County.”
Oakland County’s Community & Home Improvement Division has already provided the City of Pontiac with $3 million in combined funding from Neighborhood Stabilization Program Round III and Community Development Block Grants for demolition of blighted homes which the city identifies. Pulte continues to fund the Detroit Blight Authority through private donations and grants. To donate to his efforts in Pontiac and elsewhere, go to www.theblightauthority.com.
Pulte’s Detroit Blight Authority has an unquestionable record of success. In Detroit, the authority had eliminated blight – including vacant buildings, trash, debris and brush – from more than 500 lots or 24 city blocks in the Brightmoor and Eastern Market neighborhoods of Detroit.
Pontiac is a leader and a model for how financially-troubled communities can restructure and operate. Pontiac’s budget is structurally balanced. It has become a business-friendly community with the help of Oakland County’s One Stop Ready initiative which eliminates red tape for business development. Pontiac is also a member of Main Street Oakland County which assists small businesses with developing a sense of place in downtown areas with an eye on historic preservation. Oakland County also provides services to Pontiac residents in the areas of law enforcement, animal control, dispatch, equalization, and federal grant administration.