Sunshine falls quite pleasantly on the tall — really tall — front lawn at 6128-30 Rosa Parks Blvd. The grass at the two-family flat on Detroit’s north side hasn’t been cut in ages, and stands 2 or 3 feet high. Denise Knight has lived next door for 18 years. She says the place was abandoned 15 years ago, but the owner (she doesn’t know him) turned up and padlocked one of the front doors last year. Knight says she doesn’t remember the last occupants of the house. She does, however, know who lives there now. “This guy named Melvin. He don’t own it. He just stays there. Oh, there he is now.” Indeed. Melvin, a tall man in his 50s, moseys by with barely a glance. He does peer at us through an upstairs window, re-emerging when asked to come outside. “I just needed a place to stay, and this place has been here,” he says. Melvin declines to give us the grand tour. His ride to work is waiting around the corner, he says. Walking away, he turns and says the city should do its best to tear down abandoned houses. “Go on in and look at it,” he says, waving while walking. “But watch yourself. Them floors is fucked up.” Rotten floorboards greet us at the entrance. The place is decorated with a spare shoe and a single chair. A detached garage looks ready to cave. Might be a wee bit unsafe for the elementary-aged schoolchildren playing in the yard next door. Though the city has received no complaints about the house, we are standing our ASS up to say, for the love of the kids, fix it. Or nix it.
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