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Originally published January 9, 2013 at 9:38 PM | Page modified January 10, 2013 at 9:08 AM

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Blueprint to remake Detroit unveiled

A 50-year blueprint for revitalizing Detroit, from leveling parts of nearly vacant neighborhoods for parks to relaxing rules for startup...

The Associated Press

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I grew up in the Detroit area in the glory days of the 50's & 60's. The city was hi... MORE
I'm going to disagree a bit with you, ImagineThat. I too grew up in the Detroit area... MORE

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DETROIT — A 50-year blueprint for revitalizing Detroit, from leveling parts of nearly vacant neighborhoods for parks to relaxing rules for startup companies, was released Wednesday after two years of research and community input.

The project was launched by Mayor Dave Bing, who joined dozens of community, business and philanthropic leaders in unveiling the plan for the shrinking and financially troubled city. The 349-page strategic framework focuses on job growth, land use, improving neighborhoods and rebuilding infrastructure.

It doesn't include financing plans, but at least $150 million in initial funding will come over the next five years from the Kresge Foundation. The private organization, which is based in nearby Troy, has long been active in Detroit-area projects.

A major focus is on Detroit's ramshackle neighborhoods. The city currently has at least 30,000 empty homes and 20 square miles of vacant land.

Among the report's suggestions are targeting vacant land and empty buildings for employment districts to stimulate job growth in neighborhoods. It also recommends encouraging residents living in sparsely populated neighborhoods to move out, then converting the land into open space or community gardens.

In the 1950s, about 1.8 million called Detroit home. But dramatic population and business losses over the past 50 years whittled its tax base. The city's current population of about 700,000 people is expected to drop even more. It also has a budget deficit of $327 million.

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