Defund Demolitions in Detroit

May 17, 2022

Council President, Pro Temp., and Council Members,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak my concerns into the record. My name is Eden Bloom and my family and I live in Distict 5.

This morning I want to express concern over the use of ARPA funds for the demolition of industrial sites. I would like to know if APRA funds are being used to demolish the AMC Headquarters. If so City Council should demand the developer pay for the demolition themselves. COVID relief funds should not be used in this manner on this or any other demolition project.

These funds should be re-allocated to the Public Health Fund to protect Detroiters from historical, ongoing and future over pollution.

The current administration has spend nearly a billion dollars on demolition without adequately responding to the housing crisis or the environmental injustice of deals like Stellantis. The state has fined Detroit $24,500 in the last eight months over environmental safety violations by contractors hired to demolish houses. Source: Axios

The particulate matter generated by demolition may represent a threat to the health of people living nearby, one of these being asthma.

Latest state report on asthma in Detroit shows the disparities have grown in the last five years. In 2012 Detroit adults with asthma at 15.5% compared with Michigan’s 11%. Last year, 16.2% of Detroit adults had asthma, while the proportion statewide remained almost the same at 11.1%, making the disease 46% higher in the city than the rest of the state. Source: Detroit News

Finally, my family live in the Stellantis Impact Area and last week my wife and I called both EGLE pollution emergency hotline and DTE due to being overwhelmed by fumes. My partner and 2 of our kids had headaches from playing outside when the fumes rolled in. EGLE was unable to send someone out but the DTE worker confirmed the stench and said he would attempt to locate a source. I’m extremely concerned what these levels of pollution mean for those like us who do not have AC and won’t be able to close up our windows when it gets too hot.

Our neighbors on Beniteau have to live with frequent overwhelming fumes from the Mack Ave. Plant and we all should be concerned about what is going to happen to our air quality when Jefferson North comes on line.

As decision makers I hope you are concerned about the cumulative impact of living near not only the massive Detroit Assembly Complex, but also the chemical facilities south of Jefferson, US Ecology and other smaller and potentially less regulated shops. With industrial redevelopment more of these shops are coming.

While Detroiters are experiencing the economic impacts of climate change through flooding and power outages it is vital that city leaders look at the big picture. We must consider the cumulative public health impacts of these industrial developments. Again, I encourage City Council members to take a more active roll in protecting Detroiters and to move more funds into the Public Health Fund.

Thank you.

Existing Public Health Fund
The City of Detroit has an existing Public Health Fund that has not yet been funded. The Public Health Fund was created as part of the Bulk Solid Materials Storage Ordinance. The fund can receive donations from any source. Money in the fund remains in the fund at the end of the fiscal year and does not go into the general fund. Donations to the fund must be accepted by City Council and can include conditions. The expenditure of the money from the Public Health Fund must be approved by City Council.