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Detroit Council OKs sale of 1,500 lots for urban farming project


Joyce Jennings of Detroit waits in line to go into City Council chambers to speak up against the Hantz Woodlands on Tuesday. Photo by Jessica Trevino.

“We have over 60,000 vacant parcels of land in the city,” Bing said. “We’ve got a hell of a lot to offer. We have no issue selling the land to anybody. … It will help us with blight.”

By John Gallagher
Detroit Free Press
Dec 11, 2012

Excerpt:

More than a mere land sale, the Detroit City Council’s 5-4 vote Tuesday to sell about 1,500 lots for the Hantz Woodlands project keeps alive the idea that Detroit will serve as a worldwide center of urban innovation for post-industrial cities.

In recent years, hundreds of artists, architects, academics, filmmakers, urban planners and students have flocked to Detroit to see urban innovation at work. The Hantz proposal, billed as the world’s largest experiment in urban agriculture, was a big part of that global interest, receiving worldwide publicity.

Proposed almost four years ago as Hantz Farms, the project now will have a chance to demonstrate if a large-scale blight removal and reforestation project will help or hinder Detroit’s recovery.

Councilman Ken Cockrel Jr., a “yes” vote on the deal, said urban agriculture isn’t a silver bullet to fix Detroit’s problems, but that it is an important component of redevelopment.

“A ‘no’ vote would have sent the message to the world that Detroit isn’t really serious about urban agriculture,” Cockrel said.

Complete story here.