Heidelberg Project starts petition to acquire 40 parcels


The Heidelberg Project's "Polka Dot House." - LEE DEVITO
  • Lee DeVito
  • The Heidelberg Project's "Polka Dot House."

The Heidelberg Project has started a petition calling on Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit Land Bank to accept its proposal to acquire nearly 40 vacant lots.

Previously, Heidelberg Project CEO Jenenne Whitfield said that the Land Bank, which owns more than 45,000 abandoned houses and empty lots, rejected the proposal twice with no explanation.

Whitfield says the Heidelberg project has taken care of the properties for the past 30 years. Land Bank spokesman Craig Fahle said the Land Bank reserves the right to approve and disapprove of any applications.

"The Heidelberg Project is a Detroit institution that has taken care of a neighborhood that was forgotten by the City of Detroit and turned it into a destination that has attracted and inspired millions over 30 years," reads a statement on the petition's web page. "Mayor Duggan says that every neighborhood has a future and that those who stayed in Detroit have a voice in how their neighborhoods redevelop. It is time he live up to that promise. Tell the Detroit Land Bank to connect the dots and allow the Heidelberg Project to purchase the properties they have maintained for more than 30 years."

The petition reads:
I stand with the Heidelberg Project and urge Mayor Duggan and the Detroit Land Bank to immediately provide the Heidelberg Project the properties they have taken care of for 30 years.

Tyree Guyton, the founder of the Heidelberg Project grew up on Heidelberg Street. When he saw his neighborhood become crime-ridden and impoverished, he picked up a paintbrush and a broom and turned vacant houses into an internationally recognized outdoor art installation.

The City of Detroit has benefited from the Heidelberg Project for 30 years.

It is one of Detroit’s most visited attractions, bringing approximately 275,000 visitors and millions in economic impact to Detroit every year.

For 30 years, the Heidelberg Project has employed people from the neighborhood to cut the grass and clear debris on more than 40 lots owned by the City of Detroit that would otherwise be blighted and unsafe.

The Heidelberg Project helped make Detroit an art city and has inspired thousands who are helping build the creative economy driving Detroit’s comeback.

The Heidelberg Project is a Detroit institution. For 31 years they’ve invested in the neighborhood and brought people from around the world to see Detroit. It’s time the City of Detroit recognize that contribution and let Heidelberg 3.0 grow.

The Detroit Land Bank should stop trying to silence the Heidelberg Project and provide the property they deserve.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.