DEARBORN HEIGHTS — The city of Dearborn Heights is continuing its efforts to mitigate flooding by demolishing flood-prone homes along the Ecorse Creek corridor.
In this effort, the city demolished four more homes on Currier Street, bringing the total number of homes demolished along and near the creek to more than 20 since the initiative began. Five more are in the process of being purchased and are expected to be slated for demolition later this spring.
The purchase and demolition of the homes is funded by grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The demolitions are part of Mayor Bill Bazzi’s long-term flood mitigation plan to try to help alleviate the adverse impact of flooding along the Rouge River Watershed.
“I’m pleased we are able to purchase and demolish even more homes along this flood plain,” he said. “It is giving those residents who have been devastated by flooding so many times in this area the opportunity to sell their home at a fair price, relocate and allow them to move on from the pain and inconvenience that has plagued them. We have a number of technical experts and agencies actively exploring longer-term, more comprehensive solutions to the flooding problem and the best of these will be implemented as one of my highest priorities. In the meantime, I am pleased we’ve been able to give several of these affected residents a way to help put an end to the flood-related problems they have experienced.”
The $1.5 million FEMA grant used to purchase and demolish these four homes was originally made available in 2016, but the application wasn’t followed up on, resulting in the funds not being secured.
When Bazzi took office in January 2021, he and his administration worked with FEMA to secure a renewal and extension of the grant, get the proper background information submitted and complete the process.
“We have recently applied for another FEMA grant in the amount of $2.5 million, which is currently under consideration and pending approval,” Bazzi said. “Once we secure this one, we will be able to help even more residents move out of these flood-prone structures and out of the flood plain.”
Once the demolitions are completed and the lots are cleared, they will be left vacant to help reduce the negative impact of flooding in the area.
“We absolutely will not pressure a resident to sell their home,” Bazzi said. “Once a grant becomes available, we notify the residents in the affected area on its availability. It is then entirely their decision whether or not to pursue the sale of their home.”
Once a resident confirms interest, independent appraisers assess the value of the home, at which point the resident can choose to continue with the sale or retain ownership as-is.
“Residents who are interested can be assured they will be dealt with fairly and honestly,” Bazzi said. “Our mission here is to relieve their pain, suffering and financial burden – and make sure each of them gets a fair deal in the process.”